Author(s): Frick LR, Williams K, Pittenger C
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Abstract Microglia, the brain's resident immune cells, are phagocytes of the macrophage lineage that have a key role in responding to inflammation and immune challenge in the brain. More recently, they have been shown to have a number of important roles beyond immune surveillance and response, including synaptic pruning during development and the support of adult neurogenesis. Microglial abnormalities have been found in several neuropsychiatric conditions, though in most cases it remains unclear whether these are causative or are a reaction to some other underlying pathophysiology. Here we summarize postmortem, animal, neuroimaging, and other evidence for microglial pathology in major depression, schizophrenia, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourette syndrome. We identify gaps in the existing literature and important areas for future research. If microglial pathology proves to be an important causative factor in these or other neuropsychiatric diseases, modulators of microglial function may represent a novel therapeutic strategy.
This article was published in Clin Dev Immunol
and referenced in Clinics in Mother and Child Health