Microglial-driven changes in synaptic plasticity: a possible role in major depressive disorder

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Recent data gathered from both in vitro and in vivo models of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) have indicated that microglia play an active role in modifying some of the most important sources for neuronal plasticity, specifically long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). In addition, microglia have been implicated in neuro-immune interaction dysregulations, which are considered a core constituent of MDD pathology. While prior studies have investigated the diverse effects activated microglia can have in the context of depression, including regulation of inflammatory cytokine production and structural changes, recent evidence has revealed a more direct relationship between microglial activation and changes in synaptic function and plasticity, including LTP and LTD. Here we review these findings from animal models, as well as discuss how current preclinical evidence might shed light on novel therapeutic targets for patients with depressive disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-247
Number of pages12
Early online date22 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Depression
  • LTD
  • LTP
  • Microglia
  • Plasticity


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