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      A polarizing question: do M1 and M2 microglia exist?

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      Nature neuroscience

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          Abstract

          Microglial research has entered a fertile, dynamic phase characterized by novel technologies including two-photon imaging, whole-genome transcriptomic and epigenomic analysis with complementary bioinformatics, unbiased proteomics, cytometry by time of flight (CyTOF; Fluidigm) cytometry, and complex high-content experimental models including slice culture and zebrafish. Against this vivid background of newly emerging data, investigators will encounter in the microglial research literature a body of published work using the terminology of macrophage polarization, most commonly into the M1 and M2 phenotypes. It is the assertion of this opinion piece that microglial polarization has not been established by research findings. Rather, the adoption of this schema was undertaken in an attempt to simplify data interpretation at a time when the ontogeny and functional significance of microglia had not yet been characterized. Now, terminology suggesting established meaningful pathways of microglial polarization hinders rather than aids research progress and should be discarded.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Nat. Neurosci.
          Nature neuroscience
          1546-1726
          1097-6256
          Jul 26 2016
          : 19
          : 8
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Neuroimmunology, Biogen, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA.
          Article
          nn.4338
          10.1038/nn.4338
          27459405
          8c685ade-22ff-456a-ab21-065b52af050c
          History

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