Microglia: The Neural Cells of Nonneural Origin.Methods Mol Biol 2019; 2034:3-11MM
Microglia are neural cells of nonneural origin; they originate from fetal macrophages that invade neural tube early in embryogenesis and undergo the most idiosyncratic metamorphosis which coverts them into elements of neural circuitry. Microglia appeared early in evolution with neural immune cells being operative in leeches and mollusks. Microglial cells acquire specific morphology characterized by small cell bodies and long motile processes which are packed with receptors sensing both physiological and pathological stimuli. Microglial cells actively sculpture neuronal networks through synaptic stripping and phagocytosis of redundant neurons; microglia also secrete neuroactive factors regulating synaptic transmission. Novel techniques emerging in recent decade allowed an in-depth understanding of physiological and pathophysiological functions of microglia.