Microglia in brain development and regeneration

Development. 2022 Apr 15;149(8):dev200425. doi: 10.1242/dev.200425. Epub 2022 May 3.


It has recently emerged that microglia, the tissue-resident macrophages of the central nervous system, play significant non-innate immune roles to support the development, maintenance, homeostasis and repair of the brain. Apart from being highly specialized brain phagocytes, microglia modulate the development and functions of neurons and glial cells through both direct and indirect interactions. Thus, recognizing the elements that influence the homeostasis and heterogeneity of microglia in normal brain development is crucial to understanding the mechanisms that lead to early disease pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders. In this Review, we discuss recent studies that have elucidated the physiological development of microglia and summarize our knowledge of their non-innate immune functions in brain development and tissue repair.

Keywords: Brain development; Heterogeneity; Microglia; Neurons; Oligodendrocytes; Synapse.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Central Nervous System* / pathology
  • Homeostasis
  • Microglia* / pathology
  • Neuroglia