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Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Oct;73:51-65. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 2.

Controversies and prospects about microglia in maternal immune activation models for neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Uhasselt - BIOMED, Hasselt, Belgium; Laboratory of Neuronal Differentiation, VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, Leuven and Center for Human Genetics, KU Leuven Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich-Vetsuisse, Zurich, Switzerland; Neuroscience Center Zurich, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Uhasselt - BIOMED, Hasselt, Belgium; INSERM, UMR S 1130, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris, France; CNRS, UMR 8246, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris, France; UM 119 NPS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris, France. Electronic address:
Uhasselt - BIOMED, Hasselt, Belgium. Electronic address:
Uhasselt - BIOMED, Hasselt, Belgium. Electronic address:


Activation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy is a well-established risk factor for neuropsychiatric disease in the offspring, yet, the underlying mechanisms leading to altered brain function remain largely undefined. Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, are key to adequate development of the central nervous system (CNS), and are prime candidates to mediate maternal immune activation (MIA)-induced brain abnormalities. As such, the effects of MIA on the immunological phenotype of microglia has been widely investigated. However, contradicting results due to differences in read-out and methodological approaches impede final conclusions on MIA-induced microglial alterations. The aim of this review is to critically discuss the evidence for an activated microglial phenotype upon MIA.


LPS; Maternal immune activation; Microglia; Neurodevelopmental disorders; Poly(I:C)

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