Microglia-dependent remodeling of neuronal circuits

J Neurochem. 2022 Oct;163(2):74-93. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15689. Epub 2022 Sep 5.


Microglia are tissue-resident macrophages responsible for the surveillance, neuronal support, and immune defense of the brain parenchyma. Recently, the role played by microglia in the formation and function of neuronal circuits has garnered substantial attention. During development, microglia have been shown to engulf neuronal precursors and participate in pruning mechanisms while, in the mature brain, they influence synaptic signaling, provide trophic support and shape synaptic plasticity. Recently, studies have unveiled different microglial characteristics associated with specific brain regions. This emerging view suggests that the maturation and function of distinct neuronal circuits may be potentially associated with the molecular identity microglia adopts across the brain. Here, we review and summarize the known role of these cells in the thalamus, hippocampus, cortex, and cerebellum. We focus on in vivo studies to highlight the characteristics of microglia that may be important in the remodeling of these neuronal circuits and in relation to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords: brain wiring; cerebellum; cortex; hippocampus; microglia; neurodevelopment; thalamus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Microglia* / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity* / physiology
  • Neurons
  • Synapses / physiology