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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 1921-1927

Don’t know what you got till it’s gone: microglial depletion and neurodegeneration

Department of Health Sciences, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA

Correspondence Address:
Eiron Cudaback
Department of Health Sciences, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
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Source of Support: This work was supported by DePaul University grant URC450622 (to EC), Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.308078

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In the central nervous system, immunologic surveillance and response are carried out, in large part, by microglia. These resident macrophages derive from myeloid precursors in the embryonic yolk sac, migrating to the brain and eventually populating local tissue prior to blood-brain barrier formation. Preserved for the duration of lifespan, microglia serve the host as more than just a central arm of innate immunity, also contributing significantly to the development and maintenance of neurons and neural networks, as well as neuroregeneration. The critical nature of these varied functions makes the characterization of key roles played by microglia in neurodegenerative disorders, especially Alzheimer’s disease, of paramount importance. While genetic models and rudimentary pharmacologic approaches for microglial manipulation have greatly improved our understanding of central nervous system health and disease, significant advances in the selective and near complete in vitro and in vivo depletion of microglia for neuroscience application continue to push the boundaries of research. Here we discuss the research efficacy and utility of various microglial depletion strategies, including the highly effective CSF1R inhibitor models, noteworthy insights into the relationship between microglia and neurodegeneration, and the potential for therapeutic repurposing of microglial depletion and repopulation.

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