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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 318;

Microglia and Aging: The Role of the TREM2–DAP12 and CX3CL1-CX3CR1 Axes

Department of Experimental Medicine, Perugia Medical School, University of Perugia, Piazza Lucio Severi 1, 06132 Perugia, Italy
Centro Universitario per la Ricerca sulla Genomica Funzionale, Perugia Medical School, University of Perugia, Piazza Lucio Severi 1, 06132 Perugia, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microglia in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease)
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Depending on the species, microglial cells represent 5–20% of glial cells in the adult brain. As the innate immune effector of the brain, microglia are involved in several functions: regulation of inflammation, synaptic connectivity, programmed cell death, wiring and circuitry formation, phagocytosis of cell debris, and synaptic pruning and sculpting of postnatal neural circuits. Moreover, microglia contribute to some neurodevelopmental disorders such as Nasu-Hakola disease (NHD), and to aged-associated neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and others. There is evidence that human and rodent microglia may become senescent. This event determines alterations in the microglia activation status, associated with a chronic inflammation phenotype and with the loss of neuroprotective functions that lead to a greater susceptibility to the neurodegenerative diseases of aging. In the central nervous system (CNS), Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells 2-DNAX activation protein 12 (TREM2-DAP12) is a signaling complex expressed exclusively in microglia. As a microglial surface receptor, TREM2 interacts with DAP12 to initiate signal transduction pathways that promote microglial cell activation, phagocytosis, and microglial cell survival. Defective TREM2-DAP12 functions play a central role in the pathogenesis of several diseases. The CX3CL1 (fractalkine)-CX3CR1 signaling represents the most important communication channel between neurons and microglia. The expression of CX3CL1 in neurons and of its receptor CX3CR1 in microglia determines a specific interaction, playing fundamental roles in the regulation of the maturation and function of these cells. Here, we review the role of the TREM2-DAP12 and CX3CL1-CX3CR1 axes in aged microglia and the involvement of these pathways in physiological CNS aging and in age-associated neurodegenerative diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: aging; aged microglia; TREM2; DAP12; CX3CL1; CX3CR1 aging; aged microglia; TREM2; DAP12; CX3CL1; CX3CR1

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Mecca, C.; Giambanco, I.; Donato, R.; Arcuri, C. Microglia and Aging: The Role of the TREM2–DAP12 and CX3CL1-CX3CR1 Axes. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 318.

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