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Microglia Don't Rest: Dispelling Myths about the Brain's Resident Immune Cells

Microglia Don't Rest
Reported by
Jill U. Adams

Posted September 21, 2007

Presented By

Neuroimmunology Discussion Group


Microglia are permanent members and functioning players in the normal central nervous system (CNS). The brain's resident immune cells, they are gaining more attention for their role in inflammatory responses and neurodegenerative disease as scientists have realized that microglia participate in a much more complex manner than as a simple on/off toggle. As described at the June 4, 2007, meeting of the Academy's Neuroimmunology Discussion Group, new findings reveal that microglia have at the ready a broad portfolio of responses, which are tailored to specific situations.

Topics discussed included the response of microglia to brain injury and microglial activation and signaling after spinal cord injury.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Journal Articles

Monica Carson

Carson MJ, Thrash JC, Lo D. 2004. Analysis of microglial gene expression: identifying targets for CNS neurodegenerative and autoimmune disease. Am. J. Pharmacogenomics 4: 321-330.

Schmid CD, Sautkulis LN, Danielson PE, et al. 2002. Heterogeneous expression of the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-2 on adult murine microglia. J. Neurochem. 83: 1309-1320.

Wenbiao Gan

Davalos D, Grutzendler J, Yang G, et al. 2005. ATP mediates rapid microglial response to local brain injury in vivo. Nat. Neurosci. 8: 752-758.

Haynes SE, Hollopeter G, Yang G, et al. 2006. The P2Y12 receptor regulates microglial activation by extracellular nucleotides. Nat. Neurosci. 9: 1512-1519.

Tsai J, Grutzendler J, Duff K, Gan WB. 2004. Fibrillar amyloid deposition leads to local synaptic abnormalities and breakage of neuronal branches. Nat. Neurosci. 7: 1181-1183.

Xu HT, Pan F, Yang G, Gan WB. 2007. Choice of cranial window type for in vivo imaging affects dendritic spine turnover in the cortex. Nat. Neurosci. 10: 549-551.

Bryan Hains

Hains BC, Waxman SG. 2006. Activated microglia contribute to the maintenance of chronic pain after spinal cord injury. J. Neurosci. 26: 4308-4317. FULL TEXT

Zhao P, Waxman SG, Hains BC. 2007. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase-regulated microglia-neuron signaling by prostaglandin E2 contributes to pain after spinal cord injury. J. Neurosci. 27: 2357-2368. FULL TEXT

Zhao P, Waxman SG, Hains BC. 2007.Modulation of thalamic nociceptive processing after spinal cord injury through remote activation of thalamic microglia by cysteine cysteine chemokine ligand 21. J. Neurosci. 27: 8893-8902.


Monica Carson, PhD

University of California-Riverside
e-mail | web site | publications

Monica Carson is associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California-Riverside. Her research is focused on defining the role of microglia in neurodegenerative disorders of the brain and spinal cord, like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and mechanical trauma.

Carson received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and did postdoctoral work at Scripps Research Institute.

Wenbiao Gan, PhD

New York University
e-mail | publications

Wenbiao Gan is an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience at the Skirball and a member of the Skirball Institute Program of Molecular Neurobiology. His research interests include structural plasticity of synapses as it relates to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

Gan received his PhD from Columbia University and did his postdoctoral work at Washington University. He has also taught neurobiology at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory.

Bryan Hains, PhD

Yale University
e-mail | web site | publications

Bryan Hains is currently an assistant professor of neurology at Yale University. His research has focused on understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the generation and maintenance of chronic pain after spinal cord injury.

Hains received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and did his postdoctoral studies at Yale University.

Jill U. Adams

Jill U. Adams is a scientist-turned-science-writer based in Albany, New York.