Repertoire of microglial and macrophage responses after spinal cord injury

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Jun 15;12(7):388-99. doi: 10.1038/nrn3053.


Macrophages from the peripheral circulation and those derived from resident microglia are among the main effector cells of the inflammatory response that follows spinal cord trauma. There has been considerable debate in the field as to whether the inflammatory response is good or bad for tissue protection and repair. Recent studies on macrophage polarization in non-neural tissues have shed much light on their changing functional states. In the context of this literature, we discuss the activation of macrophages and microglia following spinal cord injury, and their effects on repair. Harnessing their anti-inflammatory properties could pave the way for new therapeutic strategies for spinal cord trauma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Macrophages / classification
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology*