Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Neurotoxicology. 2012 Mar;33(2):191-206. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2012.01.012. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Microglia in the developing brain: a potential target with lifetime effects.

Author information

1
National Toxicology Program Laboratory, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA. harry@niehs.nih.gov

Abstract

Microglia are a heterogenous group of monocyte-derived cells serving multiple roles within the brain, many of which are associated with immune and macrophage like properties. These cells are known to serve a critical role during brain injury and to maintain homeostasis; yet, their defined roles during development have yet to be elucidated. Microglial actions appear to influence events associated with neuronal proliferation and differentiation during development, as well as, contribute to processes associated with the removal of dying neurons or cellular debris and management of synaptic connections. These long-lived cells display changes during injury and with aging that are critical to the maintenance of the neuronal environment over the lifespan of the organism. These processes may be altered by changes in the colonization of the brain or by inflammatory events during development. This review addresses the role of microglia during brain development, both structurally and functionally, as well as the inherent vulnerability of the developing nervous system. A framework is presented considering microglia as a critical nervous system-specific cell that can influence multiple aspects of brain development (e.g., vascularization, synaptogenesis, and myelination) and have a long term impact on the functional vulnerability of the nervous system to a subsequent insult, whether environmental, physical, age-related, or disease-related.

PMID:
22322212
PMCID:
PMC3299893
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuro.2012.01.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center