Given the importance of microglia to inflammatory, phagocytic and synaptic modulatory processes, their function is vital in physiological and pathological brain. The impairment of microglia in Alzheimer’s disease has been demonstrated on genetic, epigenetic, transcriptional and functional levels using unbiased systems level approaches. Recent studies have highlighted the immense phenotypic diversity of microglia, including the ability to adopt distinct and dynamic phenotypes in ageing and disease. We review the origins and functions of healthy microglia and the established and emerging models and techniques available for their study. Furthermore, we highlight recent advances on the role, heterogeneity and dysfunction of microglia in Alzheimer’s disease and discuss the potential for therapeutic interventions targeting microglia. Microglia-selective molecular fingerprints will guide detailed functional analysis of microglial subsets and may aid in the development of therapies specifically targeting microglia.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Stem cell models