Perivascular microglia activation is a hallmark of inflammatory demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS), but the mechanisms underlying microglia activation and specific strategies to attenuate their activation remain elusive. Here, we identify fibrinogen as a novel regulator of microglia activation and show that targeting of the interaction of fibrinogen with the microglia integrin receptor Mac-1 (alpha(M)beta(2), CD11b/CD18) is sufficient to suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice that retain full coagulation function. We show that fibrinogen, which is deposited perivascularly in MS plaques, signals through Mac-1 and induces the differentiation of microglia to phagocytes via activation of Akt and Rho. Genetic disruption of fibrinogen-Mac-1 interaction in fibrinogen-gamma(390-396A) knock-in mice or pharmacologically impeding fibrinogen-Mac-1 interaction through intranasal delivery of a fibrinogen-derived inhibitory peptide (gamma(377-395)) attenuates microglia activation and suppresses relapsing paralysis. Because blocking fibrinogen-Mac-1 interactions affects the proinflammatory but not the procoagulant properties of fibrinogen, targeting the gamma(377-395) fibrinogen epitope could represent a potential therapeutic strategy for MS and other neuroinflammatory diseases associated with blood-brain barrier disruption and microglia activation.