This chapter provides a concise summary of experiences with monoclonal antibodies against rat leukocyte antigens used for the monitoring of microglial activation during various neuropathological states. The availability of monoclonal antibodies directed against immune system antigens, such as major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens, lymphocyte, and myelomonocytic markers, has contributed significantly to our understanding of cellular neuroimmunology in recent years. Antibodies against rat leukocyte antigens have been especially useful because rat models are widely used to study a variety of neuropathologic disease mechanisms. These antibodies have been critical for defining a role of central nervous system (CNS) microglial cells as endogenous immunocompetent cells of the brain.
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