By providing high-quality and customized solutions, Creative Biolabs is a reliable partner for your neuroscience research. Our specialized scientist team provides tailored STEMOD™ ex vivo model services for microglia differentiation to meet every specific demand of our customers.
Introduction to Microglia
Microglia are the macrophage population of the central nervous system (CNS), belonging to the glial system that supports and protects neuronal functions. Microglia are broadly distributed in the brain and the spinal cord and represent the most important first immune defense of the CNS. They are phagocytic, cytotoxic, antigen-presenting cells that promote brain tissue repair after injury. More recently, a growing number of studies demonstrate the large number of functions covered by these cells that are now considered to play a major role in development, homeostasis, and various neurologic and psychiatric diseases.
Differentiation of Microglia
They arise from primitive myeloid progenitors in the yolk sac that differentiate to microglial progenitors and invade the developing brain. Once in the nervous parenchyma, microglial cells increase in number and disperse throughout the CNS; these cells finally differentiate into fully ramified microglial cells. In the brain with an intact blood-brain barrier (BBB), microglia persist as a self-sustained population.
Functions of Microglia
Microglia has two main functional aspects, including immune defense and CNS maintenance. Microglia functions lead to a sudden spike in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels generated by the stimulation of the NADPH oxidase. This mechanism is a characteristic feature of microglia to protect the brain from pathogens. Microglia maintain the brain homeostasis and reside in the healthy CNS in a resting but surveillant state and promote homeostasis through reciprocal signaling interactions with neurons. Moreover, some emerging data shows that microglia have new and fundamental roles in controlling neuronal proliferation and differentiation and in the formation of synaptic connections.
Fig.1 Brain development and microglial homeostasis. (Ginhoux, 2013)
Microglia can express the Csf-1 receptor (Csf-1R), the fractalkine receptor (Cx3cr1), and the integrin CD11b for their development. Another essential transcription factor for microglia development is PU.1, which regulates Csf-1R, among other genes. In addition, the calcium-binding protein Iba-1 is often used as a marker of microglia. The identification of microglia-specific markers is valuable for distinguishing the myeloid cells during neuroinflammatory diseases and to assess their contributions to brain homeostasis.
Diseases Related to Microglia
Microglia is crucial to the proper development and maintenance of the CNS and is involved in numerous neurological disorders. Chronic activation of microglia is a trigger to the progression of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, and defective phagocytosis and synaptic pruning have been implicated in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. Microglia also contribute to the progression of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, HIV dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, Pick's disease, brain tumors, and prion disease. Therefore, microglia occupy a central position in the defense and maintenance of the CNS and attract interest as therapeutic targets in neurological disorders and recovery from brain injury. The therapeutic use of microglia has been demonstrated in experimental animal models of human diseases.
Microglia Differentiation Service
Microglia is present as important for CNS function. However, difficulties in procuring human microglia have limited their study and hampered the clinical translation of microglia-based treatments shown to be effective in animal disease models. In recent years, pluripotent stem cells can be already widely used in directed differentiation into astrocytes and microglia and neuronal subtypes of the CNS, opening new possibilities for disease modeling and developing patient-specific therapies. Active in the market of neuroscience ex vivo models, Creative Biolabs is considered a leading provider of the class of astrocyte differentiation services worldwide. Our STEMOD™ ex vivo models can offer reproducible and scalable differentiation protocols to create deeper functional studies to meet all specific requirements.
With many years of experience, Creative Biolabs provides a wide range of STEMOD™ neuroscience ex vivo model services. Our dedicated staff and advanced equipment enable us to identify processes of astrocyte differentiation that are the most suitable for your development. For more information, please click here.
Tremblay, M. È.; et al. The role of microglia in the healthy brain. Journal of Neuroscience. 2011, 31(45), 16064-16069.