Microglia are brain macrophages that emerge from early erythro-myeloid precursors in the embryonic yolk sac and migrate to the brain mesenchyme before the blood brain barrier is formed. They seed the brain, and proliferate until they have formed a grid-like distribution in the central nervous system that is maintained throughout lifespan. The mechanisms through which these embryonic-derived cells contribute to microglia homoeostasis at steady state and upon inflammation are still not entirely clear. Here we review recent studies that provided insight into the contribution of embryonically-derived microglia and of adult 'microglia-like' cells derived from monocytes during inflammation. We examine different microglia depletion models, and discuss the origin of their rapid repopulation after depletion and outline important areas of future research.
Keywords: depletion systems; development; erythromyeloid precursors; macrophages; maintenance; microglia; repopulation; yolk sac.
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