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Neurotherapeutics. 2007 Oct;4(4):571-9.

A rose by any other name? The potential consequences of microglial heterogeneity during CNS health and disease.

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  • 1Division of Biomedical Sciences, Center for Glial-Neuronal Interactions, University of California Riverside, Riverside, California 92521, USA.


Microglial activation and macrophage infiltration into the CNS are common features of CNS autoimmune disease and of chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Because these cells largely express an overlapping set of common macrophage markers, it has been difficult to separate their respective contributions to disease onset and progression. This problem is further confounded by the many types of macrophages that have been termed microglia. Several approaches, ranging from molecular profiling of isolated cells to the generation of irradiation chimeric rodent models, are now beginning to generate rudimentary definitions distinguishing the various types of microglia and macrophages found within the CNS and the potential roles that these cells may play in health and disease.

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