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Assaying microglia functions in vitro

Maguire, Emily, Connor-Robson, Natalie ORCID:, Shaw, Bethany, O’Donoghue, Rachel, Stöberl, Nina and Hall-Roberts, Hazel 2022. Assaying microglia functions in vitro. Cells 11 (21) , 3414. 10.3390/cells11213414

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Microglia, the main immune modulators of the central nervous system, have key roles in both the developing and adult brain. These functions include shaping healthy neuronal networks, carrying out immune surveillance, mediating inflammatory responses, and disposing of unwanted material. A wide variety of pathological conditions present with microglia dysregulation, highlighting the importance of these cells in both normal brain function and disease. Studies into microglial function in the context of both health and disease thus have the potential to provide tremendous insight across a broad range of research areas. In vitro culture of microglia, using primary cells, cell lines, or induced pluripotent stem cell derived microglia, allows researchers to generate reproducible, robust, and quantifiable data regarding microglia function. A broad range of assays have been successfully developed and optimised for characterizing microglial morphology, mediation of inflammation, endocytosis, phagocytosis, chemotaxis and random motility, and mediation of immunometabolism. This review describes the main functions of microglia, compares existing protocols for measuring these functions in vitro, and highlights common pitfalls and future areas for development. We aim to provide a comprehensive methodological guide for researchers planning to characterise microglial functions within a range of contexts and in vitro models.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: MDPI
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 November 2022
Date of Acceptance: 25 October 2022
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2023 11:29

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