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The semantics of microglia activation: neuroinflammation, homeostasis, and stress

PainSci » bibliography » Woodburn et al 2021
updated

Two articles on PainSci cite Woodburn 2021: 1. Poisoned by Massage2. Chronic, Subtle, Systemic Inflammation

PainSci commentary on Woodburn 2021: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

Woodburn argues persuasively that the kind of neuroinflammation caused by major trauma or disease has clearly defined features, and it it isn’t plausible that simply being anxious and burned out could ever trigger anything like it.

I discussed this paper in a fun way in a blog post in which I put in a call to the "Hype Control Centre" to confess that I have exaggerated the potential of stress to cause neuroinflammation.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Microglia are emerging as critical regulators of neuronal function and behavior in nearly every area of neuroscience. Initial reports focused on classical immune functions of microglia in pathological contexts, however, immunological concepts from these studies have been applied to describe neuro-immune interactions in the absence of disease, injury, or infection. Indeed, terms such as 'microglia activation' or 'neuroinflammation' are used ubiquitously to describe changes in neuro-immune function in disparate contexts; particularly in stress research, where these terms prompt undue comparisons to pathological conditions. This creates a barrier for investigators new to neuro-immunology and ultimately hinders our understanding of stress effects on microglia. As more studies seek to understand the role of microglia in neurobiology and behavior, it is increasingly important to develop standard methods to study and define microglial phenotype and function. In this review, we summarize primary research on the role of microglia in pathological and physiological contexts. Further, we propose a framework to better describe changes in microglia1 phenotype and function in chronic stress. This approach will enable more precise characterization of microglia in different contexts, which should facilitate development of microglia-directed therapeutics in psychiatric and neurological disease.

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PainSci Member Login » Submit your email to unlock member content. If you can’t remember/access your registration email, please contact me. ~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher