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Review

Changing Functional Signatures of Microglia along the Axis of Brain Aging

1
Institute of Physiology, Department of Neurophysiology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
2
Department of Molecular Immunology, Palladin Institute of Biochemistry NAS of Ukraine, 9, Leontovycha str., 01054 Kyiv, Ukraine
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Markus Ritter
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031091
Received: 24 December 2020 / Revised: 19 January 2021 / Accepted: 20 January 2021 / Published: 22 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular, Cellular and Systemic Signature of Microglia)
Microglia, the innate immune cells of the brain, are commonly perceived as resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS). This definition, however, requires further specification, as under healthy homeostatic conditions, neither morphological nor functional properties of microglia mirror those of classical macrophages. Indeed, microglia adapt exceptionally well to their microenvironment, becoming a legitimate member of the cellular brain architecture. The ramified or surveillant microglia in the young adult brain are characterized by specific morphology (small cell body and long, thin motile processes) and physiology (a unique pattern of Ca2+ signaling, responsiveness to various neurotransmitters and hormones, in addition to classic “immune” stimuli). Their numerous physiological functions far exceed and complement their immune capabilities. As the brain ages, the respective changes in the microglial microenvironment impact the functional properties of microglia, triggering further rounds of adaptation. In this review, we discuss the recent data showing how functional properties of microglia adapt to age-related changes in brain parenchyma in a sex-specific manner, with a specific focus on early changes occurring at middle age as well as some strategies counteracting the aging of microglia. View Full-Text
Keywords: microglia; calcium signaling; brain aging; discoordination of microglial processes; sex-specific differences; caloric restriction; acetylcholine receptors of α7 subtype; senescence; middle-age; in vivo calcium imaging microglia; calcium signaling; brain aging; discoordination of microglial processes; sex-specific differences; caloric restriction; acetylcholine receptors of α7 subtype; senescence; middle-age; in vivo calcium imaging
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MDPI and ACS Style

Brawek, B.; Skok, M.; Garaschuk, O. Changing Functional Signatures of Microglia along the Axis of Brain Aging. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 1091. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031091

AMA Style

Brawek B, Skok M, Garaschuk O. Changing Functional Signatures of Microglia along the Axis of Brain Aging. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(3):1091. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031091

Chicago/Turabian Style

Brawek, Bianca, Maryna Skok, and Olga Garaschuk. 2021. "Changing Functional Signatures of Microglia along the Axis of Brain Aging" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 3: 1091. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031091

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