The localization of molecularly distinct microglia populations to Alzheimer's disease pathologies using QUIVER

Ryan K. Shahidehpour, Abraham S. Nelson, Lydia G. Sanders, Chloe R. Embry, Peter T. Nelson, Adam D. Bachstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


New histological techniques are needed to examine protein distribution in human tissues, which can reveal cell shape and disease pathology connections. Spatial proteomics has changed the study of tumor microenvironments by identifying spatial relationships of immunomodulatory cells and proteins and contributing to the discovery of new cancer immunotherapy biomarkers. However, the fast-expanding toolkit of spatial proteomic approaches has yet to be systematically applied to investigate pathological alterations in the aging human brain in health and disease states. Moreover, post-mortem human brain tissue presents distinct technical problems due to fixation procedures and autofluorescence, which limit fluorescence methodologies. This study sought to develop a multiplex immunohistochemistry approach (visualizing the immunostain with brightfield microscopy). Quantitative multiplex Immunohistochemistry with Visual colorimetric staining to Enhance Regional protein localization (QUIVER) was developed to address these technical challenges. Using QUIVER, a ten-channel pseudo-fluorescent image was generated using chromogen removal and digital microscopy to identify unique molecular microglia phenotypes. Next, the study asked if the tissue environment, specifically the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, has any bearing on microglia's cellular and molecular phenotypes. QUIVER allowed the visualization of five molecular microglia/macrophage phenotypes using digital pathology tools. The recognizable reactive and homeostatic microglia/macrophage phenotypes demonstrated spatial polarization towards and away from amyloid plaques, respectively. Yet, microglia morphology appearance did not always correspond to molecular phenotype. This research not only sheds light on the biology of microglia but also offers QUIVER, a new tool for examining pathological alterations in the brains of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45
Number of pages1
JournalActa neuropathologica communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 18 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s).


  • Digital pathology
  • Glia
  • Histology
  • Multiplexed tissue imaging
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuropathology
  • Single-cell analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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