Honing the Double-Edged Sword: Improving Human iPSC-Microglia Models

Front Immunol. 2020 Dec 8;11:614972. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.614972. eCollection 2020.


Human induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (hiPSC) models are a valuable new tool for research into neurodegenerative diseases. Neuroinflammation is now recognized as a key process in neurodegenerative disease and aging, and microglia are central players in this. A plethora of hiPSC-derived microglial models have been published recently to explore neuroinflammation, ranging from monoculture through to xenotransplantation. However, combining physiological relevance, reproducibility, and scalability into one model is still a challenge. We examine key features of the in vitro microglial environment, especially media composition, extracellular matrix, and co-culture, to identify areas for improvement in current hiPSC-microglia models.

Keywords: 3D scaffolds; co-culture; human; in vitro models; induced pluripotent stem cells; media composition; microglia; physiological relevance.

Publication types

  • Review