Ontogeny and homeostasis of CNS myeloid cells

Nat Immunol. 2017 Mar 22;18(4):385-392. doi: 10.1038/ni.3703.


Myeloid cells in the central nervous system (CNS) represent a heterogeneous class of innate immune cells that contribute to the maintenance of tissue homeostasis differentially during development and adulthood. The subsets of CNS myeloid cells identified so far, including parenchymal microglia and non-parenchymal meningeal, perivascular and choroid-plexus macrophages, as well as disease-associated monocytes, have classically been distinguished on the basis of their surface epitope expression, localization and morphology. However, studies using cell-specific targeting, in vivo imaging, single-cell expression analysis and other sophisticated tools have now increased the depth of knowledge of this immune-cell compartment and call for reevaluation of the traditional views on the origin, fate and function of distinct CNS myeloid subsets. The concepts of CNS macrophage biology that are emerging from these new insights have broad implications for the understanding and treatment of CNS diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Central Nervous System / cytology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunologic Surveillance
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Microglia / cytology
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • Myeloid Cells / cytology*
  • Myeloid Cells / physiology*