Synaptic pruning by microglia is necessary for normal brain development

Rosa C. Paolicelli, Giulia Bolasco, Francesca Pagani, Laura Maggi, Maria Scianni, Patrizia Panzanelli, Maurizio Giustetto, Tiago Alves Ferreira, Eva Guiducci, Laura Dumas, Davide Ragozzino, Cornelius T. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microglia are highly motile phagocytic cells that infiltrate and take up residence in the developing brain, where they are thought to provide a surveillance and scavenging function. However, although microglia have been shown to engulf and clear damaged cellular debris after brain insult, it remains less clear what role microglia play in the uninjured brain. Here, we show that microglia actively engulf synaptic material and play a major role in synaptic pruning during postnatal development in mice. These findings link microglia surveillance to synaptic maturation and suggest that deficits in microglia function may contribute to synaptic abnormalities seen in some neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1456-1458
Number of pages3
Issue number6048
Publication statusPublished - Sep 9 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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