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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2016 Feb;15(2):110-24. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2015.14. Epub 2015 Dec 4.

Central nervous system myeloid cells as drug targets: current status and translational challenges.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Section of Molecular Psychiatry, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
Department of Neuroscience, Section of Medical Physiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, 9713 Groningen, The Netherlands.
Neuroinflammation Disease Biology Unit, Lundbeck Research USA, Paramus, New Jersey 07652, USA.
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.
Institute of Neuropathology, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.
BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.


Myeloid cells of the central nervous system (CNS), which include parenchymal microglia, macrophages at CNS interfaces and monocytes recruited from the circulation during disease, are increasingly being recognized as targets for therapeutic intervention in neurological and psychiatric diseases. The origin of these cells in the immune system distinguishes them from ectodermal neurons and other glia and endows them with potential drug targets distinct from classical CNS target groups. However, despite the identification of several promising therapeutic approaches and molecular targets, no agents directly targeting these cells are currently available. Here, we assess strategies for targeting CNS myeloid cells and address key issues associated with their translation into the clinic.

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