Origin of Microglia: Current Concepts and Past Controversies Florent Ginhoux and Marco Prinz Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol August 2015;7:a020537 First published online July 1, 2015 doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a020537
Microglia are the resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS), which sit in close proximity to neural structures and are intimately involved in brain homeostasis. The microglial population also plays fundamental roles during neuronal expansion and differentiation, as well as in the perinatal establishment of synaptic circuits. Any change in the normal brain environment results in microglial activation, which can be detrimental if not appropriately regulated. Aberrant microglial function has been linked to the development of
several neurological and psychiatric diseases. However, microglia also possess potent immunoregulatory
and regenerative capacities, making them attractive targets for therapeutic manipulation. Such rationale manipulations will, however, require in-depth knowledge of their origins and the molecular mechanisms underlying their homeostasis. Here, we discuss the latest advances in our understanding of the origin, differentiation, and homeostasis of microglial cells and their myelomonocytic relatives in the CNS.