Microglial cells

Definition

Microglial cells are a specialised population of macrophages that are found in the central nervous system (CNS). They remove damaged neurons and infections and are important for maintaining the health of the CNS.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Reviews |

    Effective drug treatments for intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) are still lacking. However, therapies that target microglial phenotype switching might soon become available for affected patients. Here, Wang and colleagues summarize key advances in understanding of microglial function after ICH, including modulators of microglial function and interactions with other cells.

    • Xi Lan
    • , Xiaoning Han
    • , Qian Li
    • , Qing-Wu Yang
    •  & Jian Wang
  • Research | | open

    Long-term consumption of a calorie-rich diet persistently activates brain microglia. Here, the authors show that microglial activity in mouse brains oscillates daily in conjunction with feeding, and that TNFα, secreted by activated microglia, induces mitochondrial stress in satiety-promoting POMC neurons.

    • Chun-Xia Yi
    • , Marc Walter
    • , Yuanqing Gao
    • , Soledad Pitra
    • , Beata Legutko
    • , Stefanie Kälin
    • , Clarita Layritz
    • , Cristina García-Cáceres
    • , Maximilian Bielohuby
    • , Martin Bidlingmaier
    • , Stephen C. Woods
    • , Alexander Ghanem
    • , Karl-Klaus Conzelmann
    • , Javier E. Stern
    • , Martin Jastroch
    •  & Matthias H. Tschöp
  • Research |

    Microglia are the tissue-resident macrophages of the brain. Ouyang and colleagues show the ER-resident transmembrane protein NRROS is necessary for proper development and function of microglia. Mice lacking NRROS exhibit neurologic defects and die prematurely.

    • Kit Wong
    • , Rajkumar Noubade
    • , Paolo Manzanillo
    • , Naruhisa Ota
    • , Oded Foreman
    • , Jason A Hackney
    • , Brad A Friedman
    • , Rajita Pappu
    • , Kimberly Scearce-Levie
    •  & Wenjun Ouyang
    Nature Immunology 18, 633–641
  • Reviews |

    Microglia are by far the best-characterized macrophages in the CNS, but non-parenchymal populations, such as those found in the meninges, are being increasingly studied. Prinz et al. review the ontogeny and functions of both parenchymal macrophages and non-parenchymal macrophages the CNS.

    • Marco Prinz
    • , Daniel Erny
    •  & Nora Hagemeyer
    Nature Immunology 18, 385–392
  • Research |

    Microglia are CNS-resident macrophages, but studying their functions in health and disease has been challenging due to a lack of specific markers. Greter and colleagues identify the transcription factor Sall1 as being uniquely associated with microglia in the CNS, where it is important for defining their fate and homeostatic function.

    • Anne Buttgereit
    • , Iva Lelios
    • , Xueyang Yu
    • , Melissa Vrohlings
    • , Natalie R Krakoski
    • , Emmanuel L Gautier
    • , Ryuichi Nishinakamura
    • , Burkhard Becher
    •  & Melanie Greter
    Nature Immunology 17, 1397–1406
  • Reviews |

    Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) establish a permissive microenvironment that positively influences glioma formation, progression and response to treatment. TAMs elaborate growth factors and cytokines that collectively facilitate tumor proliferation, survival and migration. Defining the distinct roles of these stromal cells in the glioma ecosystem may yield new opportunities for therapeutic targeting.

    • Dolores Hambardzumyan
    • , David H Gutmann
    •  & Helmut Kettenmann

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