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Neural Plasticity - Volume 2015 2015, Article ID 689404, 8 pages -

Review Article

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale INSERM, U1128, 75006 Paris, France

Université Paris Descartes, 75006 Paris, France

Focus Program Translational Neuroscience FTN and Institute for Microscopic Anatomy and Neurobiology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Hanns-Dieter-Hüsch-Weg 19, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Received 23 February 2015; Accepted 29 April 2015

Academic Editor: Tomas Bellamy

Copyright © 2015 Isabelle Arnoux and Etienne Audinat. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Microglial cells are the resident macrophages of the central nervous system CNS. Besides their classical roles in pathological conditions, these immune cells also dynamically interact with neurons and influence their structure and function in physiological conditions. The neuronal chemokine fractalkine and its microglial receptor CX3CR1 are one important signaling pathway involved in these reciprocal interactions. In the present review, we will discuss recent evidence indicating that fractalkine signaling also determines several functions of microglial cells during normal CNS development. It has been known for a decade that microglial cells influence the neuronal death that normally occurs during CNS development. Surprisingly, recent evidence indicates that they can also support survival of developing neurons, control axon outgrowth, and laminar positioning of subsets of interneurons in the forebrain. Moreover, microglial cells influence the maturation of synaptic circuits at early postnatal stages: their phagocytic activity allows them to eliminate inappropriate synapses and they can also influence the functional expression of synaptic proteins by releasing mediators. Fractalkine signaling controls these functions of microglial cells in part by regulating their timely recruitment at sites of developing synapses. Finally, on-going research suggests that this signaling pathway is also a key player in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Autor: Isabelle Arnoux and Etienne Audinat



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