Perry, V. Hugh and O'Connor, Vincent
The role of microglia in synaptic stripping and synaptic degeneration: a revised perspective.
ASN Neuro, 2, (5), . (doi:10.1042/AN20100024). (PMID:20967131).
Chronic neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS (central nervous system) are characterized by the loss of neurons. There is, however, growing evidence to show that an early stage of this process involves degeneration of presynaptic terminals prior to the loss of the cell body. Synaptic plasticity in CNS pathology has been associated with microglia and the phenomenon of synaptic stripping. We review here the evidence for the involvement of microglia in synaptic stripping and synapse degeneration and we conclude that this is a case of guilt by association. In disease models of chronic neurodegeneration, there is no evidence that microglia play an active role in either synaptic stripping or synapse degeneration, but the degeneration of the synapse and the envelopment of a degenerating terminal appears to be a neuron autonomous event. We highlight here some of the gaps in our understanding of synapse degeneration in chronic neurodegenerative disease
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