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Nat Med. 2017 Sep 8;23(9):1018-1027. doi: 10.1038/nm.4397.

Microglia emerge as central players in brain disease.

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Neurosciences &Mental Health Program, Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States.


There has been an explosion of new findings recently giving us insights into the involvement of microglia in central nervous system (CNS) disorders. A host of new molecular tools and mouse models of disease are increasingly implicating this enigmatic type of nervous system cell as a key player in conditions ranging from neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and chronic pain. Contemporaneously, diverse roles are emerging for microglia in the healthy brain, from sculpting developing neuronal circuits to guiding learning-associated plasticity. Understanding the physiological functions of these cells is crucial to determining their roles in disease. Here we focus on recent developments in our rapidly expanding understanding of the function, as well as the dysfunction, of microglia in disorders of the CNS.

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