Microglia: Architects of the Developing Nervous System

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Schafer Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Developmental Neuroscience


Microglia are resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS), representing 5-10% of total CNS cells. Recent findings reveal that microglia enter the embryonic brain, take up residence before the differentiation of other CNS cell types, and become critical regulators of CNS development. Here, we discuss exciting new work implicating microglia in a range of developmental processes, including regulation of cell number and spatial patterning of CNS cells, myelination, and formation and refinement of neural circuits. Furthermore, we review studies suggesting that these cellular functions result in the modulation of behavior, which has important implications for a variety of neurological disorders.


central nervous system, development, microglia

DOI of Published Version



Trends Cell Biol. 2016 Aug;26(8):587-97. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2016.02.006. Epub 2016 Mar 20. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Trends in cell biology


First author Jeffrey Frost is a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID