Microglia states and nomenclature: A field at its crossroads

Rosa C. Paolicelli, Amanda Sierra, Beth Stevens, Marie Eve Tremblay, Adriano Aguzzi, Bahareh Ajami, Ido Amit, Etienne Audinat, Ingo Bechmann, Mariko Bennett, Frederick Bennett, Alain Bessis, Knut Biber, Staci Bilbo, Mathew Blurton-Jones, Erik Boddeke, Dora Brites, Bert Brône, Guy C. Brown, Oleg ButovskyMonica J. Carson, Bernardo Castellano, Marco Colonna, Sally A. Cowley, Colm Cunningham, Dimitrios Davalos, Philip L. De Jager, Bart de Strooper, Adam Denes, Bart J.L. Eggen, Ukpong Eyo, Elena Galea, Sonia Garel, Florent Ginhoux, Christopher K. Glass, Ozgun Gokce, Diego Gomez-Nicola, Berta González, Siamon Gordon, Manuel B. Graeber, Andrew D. Greenhalgh, Pierre Gressens, Melanie Greter, David H. Gutmann, Christian Haass, Michael T. Heneka, Frank L. Heppner, Soyon Hong, David A. Hume, Steffen Jung, Helmut Kettenmann, Jonathan Kipnis, Ryuta Koyama, Greg Lemke, Marina Lynch, Ania Majewska, Marzia Malcangio, Tarja Malm, Renzo Mancuso, Takahiro Masuda, Michela Matteoli, Barry W. McColl, Veronique E. Miron, Anna Victoria Molofsky, Michelle Monje, Eva Mracsko, Agnes Nadjar, Jonas J. Neher, Urte Neniskyte, Harald Neumann, Mami Noda, Bo Peng, Francesca Peri, V. Hugh Perry, Phillip G. Popovich, Clare Pridans, Josef Priller, Marco Prinz, Davide Ragozzino, Richard M. Ransohoff, Michael W. Salter, Anne Schaefer, Dorothy P. Schafer, Michal Schwartz, Mikael Simons, Cody J. Smith, Wolfgang J. Streit, Tuan Leng Tay, Li Huei Tsai, Alexei Verkhratsky, Rommy von Bernhardi, Hiroaki Wake, Valérie Wittamer, Susanne A. Wolf, Long Jun Wu, Tony Wyss-Coray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

387 Scopus citations


Microglial research has advanced considerably in recent decades yet has been constrained by a rolling series of dichotomies such as “resting versus activated” and “M1 versus M2.” This dualistic classification of good or bad microglia is inconsistent with the wide repertoire of microglial states and functions in development, plasticity, aging, and diseases that were elucidated in recent years. New designations continuously arising in an attempt to describe the different microglial states, notably defined using transcriptomics and proteomics, may easily lead to a misleading, although unintentional, coupling of categories and functions. To address these issues, we assembled a group of multidisciplinary experts to discuss our current understanding of microglial states as a dynamic concept and the importance of addressing microglial function. Here, we provide a conceptual framework and recommendations on the use of microglial nomenclature for researchers, reviewers, and editors, which will serve as the foundations for a future white paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3458-3483
Number of pages26
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2 2022


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