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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2016 Aug;39:30-7. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 Apr 22.

The force awakens: insights into the origin and formation of microglia.

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Institute of Neuropathology, University of Freiburg, Germany.
Institute of Neuropathology, University of Freiburg, Germany; BIOSS Centre for Biological Signaling Studies, University of Freiburg, Germany. Electronic address:


Microglia are tissue resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS) that maintain homeostasis and respond to immune challenges. New genetic fate mapping tools have revealed a yolk sac origin of microglia. Once established in the CNS, microglia persist throughout the lifetime of the organism behind the blood-brain barrier and maintain themselves by self-renewal. Recent studies uncovered a broad spectrum of microglial functions that are influenced by the dynamism of brain formation and neuronal wiring. This review focuses on current findings concerning microglia origin and formation during development and discusses the factors important for microglia survival and function.

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