Microglia--friend or foe

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2011 Jun 1;3:869-83. doi: 10.2741/193.


Microglia, as the immune effectors in the central nervous system, respond to pathological conditions and participate in the initiation and progression of neurological disorders such as inflammation and brain tumor by releasing potential neurotrophic or cytotoxic molecules, presenting the antigen to T cell and interacting with brain tumor. Evidences also suggest that microglia are capable of promoting or inhibiting the proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells by secreting series of biologically active molecules. In this review, we focus on three aspects-inflammation, neurogensis and brain tumor to illustrate the multi-faceted activities of microglia in the normal and pathologic brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Microglia / immunology*
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis / immunology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nitric Oxide