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J Biochem. 2001 Aug;130(2):169-75.

Microglia: activation and their significance in the central nervous system.

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Institute of Life Science, Soka University, Hachioji, Tokyo.


Microglia are resident monocyte-lineaged cells in the brain. Their characteristic feature is that they react to injury and diseases of the brain and become morphologically and functionally activated. Although some trigger molecules which activate microglia are predicted to be released from injured or affected cells, such molecules have not yet been identified. The main role of activated microglia is believed to be in brain defense, as scavengers of dead cells, and as immune or immunoeffector cells. Recent biochemical and neurobiological studies have further indicated that they significantly affect the pathological state and/or regulate the regenerative state and remodeling of the brain by producing a variety of biologically active molecules including cytotoxic and neurotrophic molecules.

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