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Trends Immunol. 2008 May;29(5):227-34. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Apr 7.

From bone marrow to microglia: barriers and avenues.

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  • 1INSERM U851, IFR Biosciences, University of Lyon, 69007 Lyon, France.


Microglia form a unique population of brain-resident macrophages. Although microglia have been involved in multiple disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), the issue of microglial renewal, under normal or pathological conditions, has been controversial. In mice, results from bone marrow chimera studies indicated that microglia are slowly but continuously replenished by bone marrow-derived cells. Moreover, such a microglial turnover was found to be greatly accelerated under multiple neurological conditions. However, recent works questioned the use of irradiation/reconstitution experiments to assess microglial turnover. Based on these different studies, we propose here a re-evaluation of microglia origin(s) in the inflamed CNS. We also discuss the therapeutic perspectives offered by the demonstration of an adult microglial lineage, from bone marrow to brain.

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