Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Nancy Forger

Second Advisor

Aaron Roseberry

Third Advisor

Anne Murphy


Naturally occurring perinatal cell death is a major developmental process in the formation of the brain. Microglia, the primary immunocompetent cells of the brain, have recently been implicated in actively contributing to perinatal cell death. However, the current research is contradictory. Some studies suggest that microglia induce neuronal death, while others suggest that microglia protect neurons from intrinsic cell death programs. These studies utilize many methods of manipulating microglia, they examine single regions of interest, and analyze at different times in development. These differences in analysis may be responsible for the different conclusions. In this study, we selectively reduced microglia brain wide via clodronate liposomes and measured the amount of microglial reduction and the subsequent effects on cell death. We also analyzed regional differences in cytokine expression as a possible underlying mechanism for effects of microglia on cell death.