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Microglia and inflammation: impact on developmental brain injuries.

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  • 1Center for Neuroscience Research, Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, USA.

Abstract

Inflammation during the perinatal period has become a recognized risk factor for developmental brain injuries over the past decade or more. To fully understand the relationship between inflammation and brain development, a comprehensive knowledge about the immune system within the brain is essential. Microglia are resident immune cells within the central nervous system and play a critical role in the development of an inflammatory response within the brain. Microglia are critically involved with both the innate and adaptive immune system, regulating inflammation and cell damage within the brain via activation of Toll-like receptors, production of cytokines, and a myriad of other intracellular and intercellular processes. In this article, microglial physiology is reviewed along with the role of microglia in developmental brain injuries in humans and animal models. Last, microglial functions within the innate and adaptive immune system will be summarized. Understanding the processes of inflammation and microglial activation is critical for formulating effective preventative and therapeutic strategies for developmental brain injuries.

PMID:
16807890
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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