About this Research Topic
Microglia are essential for the development and function of the adult brain. Microglia arise from erythro-myeloid precursors in the yolk sac and populate the embryonic brain early during development. Unlike monocytes, which are constantly renewed via the differentiation of bone marrow-derived hematopoietic stem cells throughout life, resident microglia in the healthy brain are thought to persist during adulthood via constant self-renewal. Their ontogeny, together with the absence of turnover from the periphery and the singular environment of the central nervous system (CNS), make microglia a unique cell population. Supporting this notion, recent transcriptional studies have revealed that microglia display specific gene expression signatures that are clearly distinct from other brain and peripheral immune cell populations in the healthy and diseased CNS.
The unique properties of microglial cells during development, as well as in the adult CNS, such as their role in synaptic stripping or the exceptional capacity to scan the brain parenchyma and rapidly react to its perturbations, have emerged in recent years. In the coming years, understanding (i) how microglia acquire and maintain their unique profiles in order to fulfill distinct tasks in the healthy CNS and (ii) how these are altered in perturbed environments will be essential to develop strategies to diagnose or treat CNS disorders with an immunological component.
This Research Topic will provide a comprehensive overview of our current understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that make microglia a unique immune cell population within the healthy CNS as well as in inflammatory, neurodegenerative and tumorigenic processes. We welcome the submission of Original Research, Protocol, Review and Mini-Review articles that cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:
1. Cellular and molecular properties characterizing microglia compared to other brain and peripheral immune cells.
2. Role of microglia in inflammatory processes associated with CNS disorders.
3. Distinct roles (or not) of microglia from resident non-parenchymal macrophages and infiltrating monocytes in inflammatory processes associated with CNS disorders.
4. Strategies for diagnostics or treatment of CNS disorders based on molecular changes in microglia.
Keywords: Microglia, Ontogeny, Inflammation, Neurodegeneration, Brain tumor
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