Emerging Roles for Microglial Phagocytic Signaling in Epilepsy

Epilepsy Curr. Jan-Feb 2020;20(1):33-38. doi: 10.1177/1535759719890336. Epub 2019 Dec 3.


Microglia are the resident immune cells and professional phagocytes of the central nervous system. However, little is known about the contribution of their phagocytic signaling to the neuropathology and pathophysiology of epilepsy. Here, we summarize and discuss the implications of recent evidence supporting that aberrant microglia phagocytic activity and alterations in phagocytosis signaling molecules occur in association with microglia-neuronal contacts, neuronal/synaptic loss, and spontaneous recurrent seizures in human and preclinical models of epilepsy. This body of evidence provides strong support that the microglial contribution to epileptogenic networks goes beyond inflammation, and suggests that phagocytic signaling molecules may be novel therapeutic targets for epilepsy.

Keywords: inflammation; microglia; neuronal loss; phagocytosis; recurrent seizures; synaptic pruning.