SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • central nervous system;
  • inflammation;
  • macrophage;
  • microglia;
  • myelin;
  • remyelination

Abstract

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Microglia are the resident macrophages of the central nervous system that survey the microenvironment for signals of injury or infection. The response to such signals induces an inflammatory response involving macrophages derived from both resident microglia and recruited circulating monocytes. Although implicated as contributors to autoimmune-mediated injury, microglia/ macrophages have recently been shown to be critical for the important central nervous system regenerative process of remyelination. This functional dichotomy may reflect their ability to be polarized along a continuum of activation states including the well-characterized cytotoxic M1 and regenerative M2 phenotypes. Here, we review the roles of microglia, monocytes and the macrophages which they give rise to in creating lesion environments favourable to remyelination, highlighting the specific roles of M1 and M2 phenotypes and how the pro-regenerative role of the innate immune system is altered by ageing.

Here, we review the roles of microglia, monocytes and the macrophages, which they give rise to in creating lesion environments favourable to remyelination, highlighting the specific roles of activation phenotypes and how the pro-regenerative role of the innate immune system is altered by ageing.