Microglial phagocytosis of live neurons

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2014 Apr;15(4):209-16. doi: 10.1038/nrn3710.


Microglia, the brain's professional phagocytes, can remove dead and dying neurons as well as synapses and the processes of live neurons. However, we and others have recently shown that microglia can also execute neuronal death by phagocytosing stressed-but-viable neurons - a process that we have termed phagoptosis. In this Progress article, we discuss evidence suggesting that phagoptosis may contribute to neuronal loss during brain development, inflammation, ischaemia and neurodegeneration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microglia / cytology
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Phagocytosis / physiology*