The emerging tale of microglia in psychiatric disorders.

TitleThe emerging tale of microglia in psychiatric disorders.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsRahimian R, Wakid M, O'Leary LAnuj, Mechawar N
JournalNeurosci Biobehav Rev
Date Published2021 Dec

As the professional phagocytes of the brain, microglia orchestrate the immunological response and play an increasingly important role in maintaining homeostatic brain functions. Microglia are activated by pathological events or slight alterations in brain homeostasis. This activation is dependent on the context and type of stressor or pathology. Through secretion of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, microglia can strongly influence the response to a stressor and can, therefore, determine the pathological outcome. Psychopathologies have repeatedly been associated with long-lasting priming and sensitization of cerebral microglia. This review focuses on the diversity of microglial phenotype and function in health and psychiatric disease. We first discuss the diverse homeostatic functions performed by microglia and then elaborate on context-specific spatial and temporal microglial heterogeneity. Subsequently, we summarize microglia involvement in psychopathologies, namely major depressive disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, with a particular focus on post-mortem studies. Finally, we postulate microglia as a promising novel therapeutic target in psychiatry through antidepressant and antipsychotic treatment.

Alternate JournalNeurosci Biobehav Rev
PubMed ID34536460