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MotiQ: an open-source toolbox to quantify the cell motility and morphology of microglia.

Molecular biology of the cell

Authors: Jan N Hansen, Matthias Brückner, Marie J Pietrowski, Jan F Jikeli, Monika Plescher, Hannes Beckert, Mareike Schnaars, Lorenz Fülle, Katharina Reitmeier, Thomas Langmann, Irmgard Förster, Delphine Boche, Gabor C Petzold, Annett Halle

Microglia are the primary resident innate immune cells of the CNS. They possess branched, motile cell processes that are important for their cellular functions. To study the pathways that control microglial morphology and motility under physiological and disease conditions, it is necessary to quantify microglial morphology and motility precisely and reliably. Several image analysis approaches are available for the quantification of microglial morphology and motility. However, they are either not automated, not freely accessible, and/or limited in the number of morphology and motility parameters that can be assessed. Thus, we have developed MotiQ, an open-source, freely accessible software for automated quantification of microglial motility and morphology. MotiQ allows quantification of a diverse set of cellular motility and morphology parameters, including the parameters that have become the gold standard in the microglia field. We demonstrate that MotiQ can be applied to in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro data from confocal, epifluorescence, or two-photon microscopy, and we compare its results to other analysis approaches. We suggest MotiQ as a versatile and customizable tool to study microglia.

PMID: 35731557

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