Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Neuroscience. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 January 2022

The Role of Microglia in Brain Aging: A Focus on Sex Differenceslocked

The Role of Microglia in Brain Aging: A Focus on Sex Differenceslocked

  • Jeffrey S. Darling, Jeffrey S. DarlingUniversity of Texas at Austin, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Kevin Sanchez, Kevin SanchezUniversity of Texas at Austin, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Andrew D. GaudetAndrew D. GaudetUniversity of Texas at Austin, Department of Psychology
  •  and Laura K. FonkenLaura K. FonkenUniversity of Texas at Austin, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Summary

Microglia, the primary innate immune cells of the brain, are critical for brain maintenance, inflammatory responses, and development in both sexes across the lifespan. Indeed, changes in microglia form and function with age have physiological and behavioral implications. Microglia in the aged brain undergo functional changes that enhance responses to diverse environmental insults. The heightened sensitivity of aged microglia amplifies proinflammatory responses, including increased production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, elevated danger signals, and deficits in debris clearance. Elevated microglia activity and neuroinflammation culminate in neuropathology, including increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline. Importantly, there are sex differences in several age-related neuroinflammatory pathologies. Microglia coordinate sex-dependent development within distinct brain structures and behaviors and are, in turn, sensitive to sex-specific hormones. This implies that microglia may confer differential disease risk by undergoing sex-specific changes with age. Understanding how aging and sex influence microglial function may lead to targeted therapies for age- and sex-associated diseases and disorders.

Subjects

  • Neuroendocrine and Autonomic Systems

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription