Role of microglia in CNS inflammation

Manuel B. Graeber*, Wei Li, Michael L. Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

301 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing confusion about the meaning of the terms inflammation, neuroinflammation, and microglial inflammation. We aim in this review to achieve greater clarity regarding these terms, which are essential for our understanding of the role of microglia in CNS inflammatory conditions. The important concept of sterile inflammation is explained against the backdrop of classical inflammation, and its key differences from what researchers refer to when they use the terms neuroinflammation and microglial inflammation are illustrated. We propose to replace the term "neuroinflammation" with "microglial activation" or "CNS pseudo-inflammation", if microglial activation does not suffice. In addition, we recommend abandoning the terms "microglial inflammation" and "inflamed microglia" because of the lack of a clear concept behind them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3798-3805
Number of pages8
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigen presentation
  • Cell death
  • Granulocytes
  • Macrophages
  • Neurodegeneration


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