Microglia and central nervous system immunity.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California at San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue, One Shrader Street, Suite 650, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA.
Neurosurgery clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 1.73). 01/2010; 21(1):43-51.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The central nervous system (CNS) has evolved as an immune-privileged site to protect its vital functions from damaging immune-mediated inflammation. There must be a CNS-adapted system of surveillance that continuously evaluates local changes in the nervous system and communicates to the peripheral immune system during an injury or a disease. Recent advances leading to a better understanding of the CNS disease processes has placed microglia, the CNS-based resident macrophages, at center stage in this system of active surveillance. Evidence points to microglia cells contributing to the immunosuppressive environment of gliomas and actually promoting tumor growth. Microglia accumulation exists in almost every CNS disease process, including CNS tumors. This article discusses the role of microglia in CNS immunity and highlights key advances made in glioma immunology.

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