Research Topic

Dual role of Microglia in Health and Disease: Pushing the Balance Towards Repair

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Microglial cells play a vital role in the innate immune response occurring in the Central Nervous System (CNS). Under physiological conditions, microglia dynamically patrol the brain parenchyma and participate in the remodeling of active neuronal circuits. Accordingly, microglia can boost synaptic plasticity ...

Microglial cells play a vital role in the innate immune response occurring in the Central Nervous System (CNS). Under physiological conditions, microglia dynamically patrol the brain parenchyma and participate in the remodeling of active neuronal circuits. Accordingly, microglia can boost synaptic plasticity by removing apoptotic cells and by phagocytizing axonal terminals and dendritic spines that form inappropriate neural connections. Upon brain and spinal cord injury or infection, microglia may have a detrimental or beneficial action, significantly contributing to the final outcome.

Although microglia and macrophages share several common features they are believed to develop distinct phenotypic and functional properties which translate into different patterns of activity. These also affect other cells of the immune system with whom microglia/macrophages interact, such as lymphocytes and dendritic cells. Moreover, microglia/macrophages seem to have developed a tightly organized system of maintenance of CNS homeostasis, since cells found in different structures have different morphology and specific function (e.g. meningeal macrophages, perivascular macrophages, choroid plexus macrophages). Nevertheless, though substantial work has been devoted to microglia function, consensus around their exact origin, their role during development, as well as the exact nature of their interaction with other brain parenchyma cells has not been met.

In this Research Topic, we invite researchers from the glia community to discuss how microglial cells sustain neural activity and plasticity in the healthy CNS as well as the cellular and molecular mechanisms developed by microglia in response to injury and disease. Understanding the mechanisms involved in microglia actions will enforce the development of new strategies to promote an efficient CNS repair by committing microglia towards neuronal survival and regeneration.

We encourage the submission of original articles in the following topics (but not limited to):

- Implications of microglia phagocytosis to neuronal plasticity and survival
- Microglia polarity in neuroprotection/neuroregeneration
- Dual role of microglia on neurogenesis
- Microglia/macrophages diversity
- Intercellular communication
- Novel molecules that modulates microglia activity


Keywords: Neuroinflammation, Neurogenesis, Neuroprotection, Immunoregulation, Therapy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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