Microglia under psychosocial stressors along the aging trajectory: Consequences on neuronal circuits, behavior, and brain diseases

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Mounting evidence indicates the importance of microglia for proper brain development and function, as well as in complex stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders and cognitive decline along the aging trajectory. Considering that microglia are resident immune cells of the brain, a homeostatic maintenance of their effector functions that impact neuronal circuitry, such as phagocytosis and secretion of inflammatory factors, is critical to prevent the onset and progression of these pathological conditions. However, the molecular mechanisms by which microglial functions can be properly regulated under healthy and pathological conditions are still largely unknown. We aim to summarize recent progress regarding the effects of psychosocial stress and oxidative stress on microglial phenotypes, leading to neuroinflammation and impaired microglia-synapse interactions, notably through our own studies of inbred mouse strains, and most importantly, to discuss about promising therapeutic strategies that take advantage of microglial functions to tackle such brain disorders in the context of adult psychosocial stress or aging-induced oxidative stress.

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