About this Research Topic
Recent advances in the understanding of microglia functions suggest an emerging role for these cells in the normal development of the central nervous system (CNS) in addition to their traditional role as the immune cells of the brain. Indeed, a main function of microglia is to regulate programmed cell death-- both as a traditional immune function and increasingly recognized as a critical mechanism for the developing human brain to prune synapses based on activity-dependent usage. These findings have resulted in a new model of the synapse as 'tripartate,' recognizing the important role of not just neurons and astrocytes but also microglia in the normal physiological function of the brain. Consequently, a major emerging area of inquiry is attempting to determine to what extent abnormalities in microglial function may contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
This Research Topic will explore the emerging dual role of microglia in both normal neurodevelopment and their potential to contribute to neurodevelopmental disease.
Keywords: microglia, brain development, neurodevelopmental disorders, microglial phagocytosis, synaptic pruning
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