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Current Neuropharmacology


ISSN (Print): 1570-159X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6190

Review Article

Pharmacological Tools to Activate Microglia and their Possible use to Study Neural Network Patho-physiology

Author(s): Fernando Pena-Ortega*

Volume 15, Issue 4, 2017

Page: [595 - 619] Pages: 25

DOI: 10.2174/1570159X14666160928151546

Price: $65


Background: Microglia are the resident immunocompetent cells of the CNS and also constitute a unique cell type that contributes to neural network homeostasis and function. Understanding microglia cell-signaling not only will reveal their diverse functions but also will help to identify pharmacological and non-pharmacological tools to modulate the activity of these cells.

Methods: We undertook a search of bibliographic databases for peer-reviewed research literature to identify microglial activators and their cell-specificity. We also looked for their effects on neural network function and dysfunction.

Results: We identified several pharmacological targets to modulate microglial function, which are more or less specific (with the proper control experiments). We also identified pharmacological targets that would require the development of new potent and specific modulators. We identified a wealth of evidence about the participation of microglia in neural network function and their alterations in pathological conditions.

Conclusion: The identification of specific microglia-activating signals provides experimental tools to modulate the activity of this heterogeneous cell type in order to evaluate its impact on other components of the nervous system, and it also helps to identify therapeutic approaches to ease some pathological conditions related to microglial dysfunction.

Keywords: Astrocytes, complement receptors, fractalkine, lipopolysaccharide, macrophages, microglia, neurons, phosphatidylserine, scavenger receptors.

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