The Dual Nature of Microglia in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Microglia-Neuron Crosstalk Perspective

Zhen Xie, Jie Meng, Zhou Wu, Hiroshi Nakanishi, Yoshinori Hayashi, Wei Kong, Fei Lan, Narengaowa, Qinghu Yang, Hong Qing, Junjun Ni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Microglia are critical players in the neuroimmune system, and their involvement in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis is increasingly being recognized. However, whether microglia play a positive or negative role in AD remains largely controversial and the precise molecular targets for intervention are not well defined. This partly results from the opposing roles of microglia in AD pathology, and is mainly reflected in the microglia-neuron interaction. Microglia can prune synapses resulting in excessive synapse loss and neuronal dysfunction, but they can also promote synapse formation, enhancing neural network plasticity. Neuroimmune crosstalk accelerates microglial activation, which induces neuron death and enhances the microglial phagocytosis of β-amyloid to protect neurons. Moreover, microglia have dual opposing roles in developing the major pathological features in AD, such as amyloid deposition and blood-brain barrier permeability. This review summarizes the dual opposing role of microglia in AD from the perspective of the interaction between neurons and microglia. Additionally, current AD treatments targeting microglia and the advantages and disadvantages of developing microglia-targeted therapeutic strategies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-638
Number of pages23
Issue number5
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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