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Dual role of microglia in health and disease: pushing the balance towards repair

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194926 Year: Pages: 101 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-492-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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Abstract

Microglial cells play a vital role in the innate immune response occurring in the Central Nervous System (CNS). Under physiologic conditions, microglia dynamically patrol the brain parenchyma and participate in the remodeling of active neuronal circuits. Accordingly, microglia can boost synaptic plasticity by removing apoptotic cells and by phagocytizing axon terminals and dendritic spines that form inappropriate neural connections. Upon brain and spinal cord injury or infection, microglia act as the first line of immune defense by promoting the clearance of damaged cells or infectious agents and by releasing neurotrophins and/ or proneurogenic factors that support neuronal survival and regeneration.Recently, two main pathways were suggested for microglia activation upon stimuli. Classical activation is induced by Toll-like receptor agonists and Th1 cytokines and polarizes cells to an M1 state, mainly leading to the release of TNF-alpha, IL-6 and nitric oxide and to grave neural damage. Alternative activation is mediated by Th2 cytokines and polarizes cells to an M2a state inducing the release of antiinflammatory factors. These findings have further fueled the discussion on whether microglia has a detrimental or beneficial action (M1 or M2-associated phenotypes, respectively) in the diseased or injured CNS and, more importantly, on whether we can shift the balance to a positive outcome.Although microglia and macrophages share several common features, upon M1 and M2 polarizing conditions, they are believed to develop distinct phenotypic and functional properties which translate into different patterns of activity. Moreover, microglia/macrophages seem to have developed a tightly organized system of maintenance of CNS homeostasis, since cells found in different structures have different morphology and specific function (e.g. meningeal macrophages, perivascular macrophages, choroid plexus macrophages). Nevertheless, though substantial work has been devoted to microglia function, consensus around their exact origin, their role during development, as well as the exact nature of their interaction with other cells of the CNS has not been met.This issue discusses how microglial cells sustain neuronal activity and plasticity in the healthy CNS as well as the cellular and molecular mechanisms developed by microglia in response to injury and disease. Understanding the mechanisms involved in microglia actions will enforce the development of new strategies to promote an efficient CNS repair by committing microglia towards neuronal survival and regeneration.

Never-resting microglia: physiological roles in the healthy brain and pathological implications

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193691 Year: Pages: 172 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-369-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-19 16:29:12
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Microglia are largely known as the major orchestrators of the brain inflammatory response. As such, they have been traditionally studied in various contexts of disease, where their activation has been assumed to induce a wide range of detrimental effects. In the last few years, a series of discoveries have challenged the current view of microglia, showing their active and positive contribution to normal brain function. This Research Topic reviewed the novel physiological roles of microglia in the developing, mature and aging brain, under non-pathological conditions. In particular, this Research Topic discussed the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which microglia contribute to the formation, pruning and plasticity of synapses; the regulation of adult neurogenesis as well as hippocampal learning and memory; among other important roles. Because these novel findings defy our understanding of microglial function in health as much as in disease, this Research Topic also summarized the current view of microglial nomenclature, phenotypes, origin and differentiation, and contribution to various brain pathologies. Additionally, novel imaging approaches and molecular tools to study microglia in their non-activated state have been discussed. In conclusion, this Research Topic sought to emphasize how the current research in neuroscience is challenged by never-resting microglia.

Neuroinflammation and Behaviour

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196029 Year: Pages: 181 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-602-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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The brain and immune system are involved in an intricate network of bidirectional communication. This relationship is vital for optimal physiological and psychological development and functioning but can also result in unwanted outcomes. In particular, this interaction plays an important role in cognition, mood and behaviour. Neuroinflammation is known to contribute to neurological and affective disorders including impaired learning and memory, depressive, anxiety and schizoaffective symptoms, as well as pain. The development of these conditions often occurs on the backdrop of pre-existing physical illnesses which give rise to increased activation of the immune system, such as cancer, obesity, infection and autoimmune disorders. Similarly, psychological states can alter regulation of the immune system. This has been most extensively studied in the context of stress and immune function. Understanding the underlying mechanisms that lead to the onset of inflammation-induced neuropathology and stress-induced immune suppression will contribute to the development of novel and effective treatment strategies for both the disease and its neurological side effects. In this research topic we explored the relationship between the immune system and the brain throughout life. We include both original research and review papers from animal, clinical and molecular perspectives.

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