Microglia: first responders in the central nervous system

Vol. 54 No. 3 Suppl., 2013
This supplement was not sponsored by Outside Organizations.

ROMANIAN JOURNAL of MORPHOLOGY and EMBRYOLOGY

B. Catalin, A. Cupido, Maria Iancau, Carmen Valeria Albu, F. Kirchhoff

Microglia has emerged not only as an essential inflammatory cell but also as a major player in the development of the adult brain. Microglia phagocytize extra-numerical synapses during postnatal development, maintain and strengthen the remaining subset of synapses, remodel synaptic circuits and clearing apoptotic newborn neurons. Thereby, microglia plays a crucial role for the establishment, plasticity and function of adult neural circuits. In addition to the key role in normal brain function, any imbalance in microglia activity has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Microglial cells respond rapidly to smallest pathological changes, this being a vital aspect in many tissue scaring and the local confinement of focal lesions. It is assumed that the high motility of microglial cells represents an important requirement to fulfill the numerous functions. In this review will highlight the role of microglial motility in the healthy and the injured brain, and discuss how impairment of microglia motility can affect normal brain function.

Corresponding author: Alexander Cupido, PhD; e-mail: alexander.cupido@uks.eu

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ROMANIAN JOURNAL of MORPHOLOGY and EMBRYOLOGY

D. M. Hermann, Ana-Maria Buga, A. Popa-Wagner

Cerebral plasticity and neurological recovery can be stimulated in the ischemic brain by exogenous pharmacological and cell-based treatments. Neurons, neuroblasts and endothelial cells synergistically interact with each other as a regenerative triad, creating an environment in which neurological recovery takes place. Developmental genetic programs are reactivated. Brain neurons and capillary cells are enabled to sprout, and glial cells support plasticity processes. Until now, the large majority of studies were performed in young, otherwise healthy animals, which lack the risk factors and co-morbidities associated with human stroke. Recent behavioral, histochemical and molecular biological studies have shown that restorative brain responses may differ between young and old animals, and that they are also modulated by vascular risk factors, such as hyperlipidemia and diabetes, which are highly prevalent in ischemic stroke. We claim that age aspects, vascular risk factors and co-morbidities should more intensively be examined in future experimental studies. Confounding effects of age, risk factors and co-morbidities should carefully be considered in clinical proof-of-concept trials.

Corresponding author: Dirk M. Hermann, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail: dirk.hermann@uk-essen.de

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