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The sustained proliferation of microglia is a key hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), accelerating its progression. Here, we sought to understand the long-term impact of the early and prolonged microglial proliferation observed in AD, hypothesising that extensive and repeated cycling would engender a distinct transcriptional and phenotypic trajectory. We found that the early and sustained microglial proliferation seen in an AD-like model promotes replicative senescence, characterised by increased bgal activity, a senescence-associated transcriptional signature and telomere shortening, correlating with the appearance of disease-associated microglia (DAM) and senescent microglial profiles in human post-mortem AD cases. Prevention of early microglial proliferation hindered the development of senescence and DAM, impairing the accumulation of Aβ, as well as associated neuritic and synaptic damage. Overall, our results support that excessive microglial proliferation leads to the generation of senescent DAM, which contribute to early Abpathology in AD.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Reports


Elsevier (Cell Press)

Publication Date