Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Leukoc Biol. 2009 Mar;85(3):352-70. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0608385. Epub 2008 Nov 21.

Microglia: gatekeepers of central nervous system immunology.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Neurobiology and Neuropharmacology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk, Belgium.


Microglia are perhaps the most underestimated cell type of our immune system. Not only were immunologists unaware of their capabilities until recently, but also, some neuroscientists denied their actual existence until the late 20th century. Nowadays, their presence is confirmed extensively, as demonstrated by numerous reports describing their involvement in virtually all neuropathologies. However, despite distinct approaches, their origin remains a point of controversy. Although many agree about their myeloid-monocytic ancestry, the precise progenitor cells and the differentiation mechanisms, which give rise to microglia in the different developmental stages of the CNS, are not unraveled yet. Mostly, this can be attributed to their versatile phenotype. Indeed, microglia show a high morphological plasticity, which is related to their functional state. This review about microglia aims to introduce the reader extensively into their ontogeny, cell biology, and involvement in different neuropathologies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk