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      Glial Cells Shape Pathology and Repair After Spinal Cord Injury

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      Neurotherapeutics
      Springer Nature

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="Par1">Glial cell types were classified less than 100 years ago by del Rio-Hortega. For instance, he correctly surmised that microglia in pathologic central nervous system (CNS) were “voracious monsters” that helped clean the tissue. Although these historical predictions were remarkably accurate, innovative technologies have revealed novel molecular, cellular, and dynamic physiologic aspects of CNS glia. In this review, we integrate recent findings regarding the roles of glia and glial interactions in healthy and injured spinal cord. The three major glial cell types are considered in healthy CNS and after spinal cord injury (SCI). Astrocytes, which in the healthy CNS regulate neurotransmitter and neurovascular dynamics, respond to SCI by becoming reactive and forming a glial scar that limits pathology and plasticity. Microglia, which in the healthy CNS scan for infection/damage, respond to SCI by promoting axon growth and remyelination—but also with hyperactivation and cytotoxic effects. Oligodendrocytes and their precursors, which in healthy tissue speed axon conduction and support axonal function, respond to SCI by differentiating and producing myelin, but are susceptible to death. Thus, post-SCI responses of each glial cell can simultaneously stimulate and stifle repair. Interestingly, potential therapies could also target interactions between these cells. Astrocyte–microglia cross-talk creates a feed-forward loop, so shifting the response of either cell could amplify repair. Astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocytes/precursors also influence post-SCI cell survival, differentiation, and remyelination, as well as axon sparing. Therefore, optimizing post-SCI responses of glial cells—and interactions between these CNS cells—could benefit neuroprotection, axon plasticity, and functional recovery. </p><div class="section"> <a class="named-anchor" id="d9019959e138"> <!-- named anchor --> </a> <h5 class="section-title" id="d9019959e139">Electronic supplementary material</h5> <p id="d9019959e141">The online version of this article (10.1007/s13311-018-0630-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. </p> </div>

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          Most cited references226

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          Microglia and macrophages in brain homeostasis and disease

          Microglia and non-parenchymal macrophages in the brain are mononuclear phagocytes that are increasingly recognized to be essential players in the development, homeostasis and diseases of the central nervous system. With the availability of new genetic, molecular and pharmacological tools, considerable advances have been made towards our understanding of the embryonic origins, developmental programmes and functions of these cells. These exciting discoveries, some of which are still controversial, also raise many new questions, which makes brain macrophage biology a fast-growing field at the intersection of neuroscience and immunology. Here, we review the current knowledge of how and where brain macrophages are generated, with a focus on parenchymal microglia. We also discuss their normal functions during development and homeostasis, the disturbance of which may lead to various neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases.
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            The Microglial Sensome Revealed by Direct RNA Sequencing

            Microglia, the principal neuroimmune sentinels of the brain, continuously sense changes in their environment and respond to invading pathogens, toxins and cellular debris. Microglia exhibit plasticity and can assume neurotoxic or neuroprotective priming states that determine their responses to danger. We used direct RNA sequencing, without amplification or cDNA synthesis, to determine the quantitative transcriptomes of microglia of healthy adult and aged mice. We validated our findings by fluorescent dual in-situ hybridization, unbiased proteomic analysis and quantitative PCR. We report here that microglia have a distinct transcriptomic signature and express a unique cluster of transcripts encoding proteins for sensing endogenous ligands and microbes that we term the “sensome”. With aging, sensome transcripts for endogenous ligand recognition are downregulated, whereas those involved in microbe recognition and host defense are upregulated. In addition, aging is associated with an overall increase in expression of microglial genes involved in neuroprotection.
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              Diversity of astrocyte functions and phenotypes in neural circuits.

              Astrocytes tile the entire CNS. They are vital for neural circuit function, but have traditionally been viewed as simple, homogenous cells that serve the same essential supportive roles everywhere. Here, we summarize breakthroughs that instead indicate that astrocytes represent a population of complex and functionally diverse cells. Physiological diversity of astrocytes is apparent between different brain circuits and microcircuits, and individual astrocytes display diverse signaling in subcellular compartments. With respect to injury and disease, astrocytes undergo diverse phenotypic changes that may be protective or causative with regard to pathology in a context-dependent manner. These new insights herald the concept that astrocytes represent a diverse population of genetically tractable cells that mediate neural circuit-specific roles in health and disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neurotherapeutics
                Neurotherapeutics
                Springer Nature
                1933-7213
                1878-7479
                July 2018
                May 4 2018
                July 2018
                : 15
                : 3
                : 554-577
                Article
                10.1007/s13311-018-0630-7
                6095774
                29728852
                60e62769-a0f7-4314-9191-e449a6844df9
                © 2018

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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