Nt3

LFA3 (CD58)

+

+

Leukocytes

Prostaglandins Superoxide anions Matrix metalloproteinases

"Abbreviations used: ICAM, intercellular adhesion molecule; IL, interleukin; G-CSF and M-CSF, macrophage and granulocyte colony-stimulating factors; LCA, leukocyte common antigen; LFA, leukocyte function-associated antigen; MHC, major histocompatibility complex; NGF, nerve growth factor; NT-3, neurotrophin-3; TNF, tumor necrosis factor; TGF, transforming growth factor; VCAM, vascular cell adhesion molecule.

"Abbreviations used: ICAM, intercellular adhesion molecule; IL, interleukin; G-CSF and M-CSF, macrophage and granulocyte colony-stimulating factors; LCA, leukocyte common antigen; LFA, leukocyte function-associated antigen; MHC, major histocompatibility complex; NGF, nerve growth factor; NT-3, neurotrophin-3; TNF, tumor necrosis factor; TGF, transforming growth factor; VCAM, vascular cell adhesion molecule.

intermediate filament vimentin, which is evident in activated microglia and in brain macrophages, is absent from resting microglia. However, it can be upregulated rapidly in response to neuronal injury. Lectin histochemical staining of nervous tissue revealed that the B4 isolectin derived from Griffonia simplicifolia and the lectin from Ricinus communis resulted in the selective visualization of microglia. Both lectins have similar sugar-binding characteristics and recognize anomeric forms of galactose in the oligosaccharide side chains of nervous system glyco-proteins in the microglial plasma membrane.

Perhaps the most well-known biological function of microglial cells is their role during the development of the CNS. Microglial cells remove dead cell fragments and eliminate transitory or aberrant axons. They can also play a more active role during cell degeneration by inducing the death of certain cells. Microglia support the development and normal function of neurons and glia by producing trophic factors as well as by participating in the growth and guidance of neurites within the developing CNS. They also promote the proliferation of astrocytes, increase myelinogenesis, and stimulate vascularization of the CNS. Many of these microglial effects are apparently mediated by active substances. Microglial cells in culture secrete a number of factors, such as nerve growth factor, neurotrophin-3, chemokines, macrophage and granu-locyte colony-stimulating factors (M-CSF and G-CSF), interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor a (TNF-a). In addition to acting on other populations of the nervous system, tissue culture studies have revealed microglial responsiveness to growth factors such as GM-CSF and CSF-1, which are potent inducers of microglial proliferation and function.

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