Are microglial cells the regulators of lymphocyte responses in the CNS?

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© 2015 Almolda, González and Castellano. The infiltration of immune cells in the central nervous system is a common hallmark in different neuroinflammatory conditions. Accumulating evidence indicates that resident glial cells can establish a cross-talk with infiltrated immune cells, including T-cells, regulating their recruitment, activation and function within the CNS. Although the healthy CNS has been thought to be devoid of professional dendritic cells (DCs), numerous studies have reported the presence of a population of DCs in specific locations such as the meninges, choroid plexuses and the perivascular space. Moreover, the infiltration of DC precursors during neuroinflammatory situations has been proposed, suggesting a putative role of these cells in the regulation of lymphocyte activity within the CNS. On the other hand, under specific circumstances, microglial cells are able to acquire a phenotype of DC expressing a wide range of molecules that equip these cells with all the necessary machinery for communication with T-cells. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the expression of molecules involved in the cross-talk with T-cells in both microglial cells and DCs and discuss the potential contribution of each of these cell populations on the control of lymphocyte function within the CNS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number440
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Issue numberNOVEMBER
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2015


  • Antigen presentation
  • B7
  • CD39
  • Co-stimulatory signals
  • Dendritic cells
  • Lymphocyte
  • MHCs
  • Purine nucleotides


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