© 2017 Martín-Estebané et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Microglial cell precursors located in the area of the base of the pecten and the optic nerve head (BP/ONH) start to enter the retina of quail embryos at the 7th day of incubation (E7), subsequently colonizing the entire retina by central-to-peripheral tangential migration, as previously shown by our group. The present study demonstrates a precise chronological coincidence of the onset of microglial cell entry into the retina with a striking increase in death of retinal cells, as revealed by their active caspase-3 expression and TUNEL staining, in regions dorsal to the BP/ONH area, suggesting that dying retinal cells would contribute to the microglial cell inflow into the retina. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in this inflow are currently unclear. Extracellular nucleotides, such as ATP and UDP, have previously been shown to favor migration of microglia towards brain injuries because they are released by apoptotic cells and stimulate both chemotaxis and chemokinesis in microglial cells via signaling through purinergic receptors. Hence, we tested here the hypothesis that ATP and UDP play a role in the entry and migration of microglial precursors into the developing retina. For this purpose, we used an experimental model system based on organotypic cultures of E6.5 quail embryo retina explants, which mimics the entry and migration of microglial precursors in the in situ developing retina. Inhibition of purinergic signaling by treating retina explants with either apyrase, a nucleotide-hydrolyzing enzyme, or suramin, a broad spectrum antagonist of purinergic receptors, significantly prevents the entry of microglial cells into the retina. In addition, treatment of retina explants with either exogenous ATP or UDP results in significantly increased numbers of microglial cells entering the retina. In light of these findings, we conclude that purinergic signaling by extracellular ATP and UDP is necessary for the entry and migration of microglial cells into the embryonic retina by inducing chemokinesis in these cells.