Microglia: The Neural Cells of Nonneural Origin

Olga Garaschuk, Alexei Verkhratsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicroglia
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
EditorsOlga Garaschuk, Alexei Verkhratsky
PublisherHumana Press, Inc
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-9658-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-9657-5
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • CNS invasion
  • Development
  • Evolution
  • Microglia
  • Neurogenesis
  • Signaling pathways
  • Synaptic stripping
  • Synaptogenesis


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