The central nervous system (CNS) and its meningeal coverings accommodate a diverse myeloid compartment that includes parenchymal microglia and perivascular macrophages, as well as choroid plexus and meningeal macrophages, dendritic cells, and granulocytes. These myeloid populations enjoy an intimate relationship with the CNS, where they play an essential role in both health and disease. Although the importance of these cells is clearly recognized, their exact function in the CNS continues to be explored. Here, we review the subsets of myeloid cells that inhabit the parenchyma, meninges, and choroid plexus and discuss their roles in CNS homeostasis. We also discuss the role of these cells in various neurological pathologies, such as autoimmunity, mechanical injury, neurodegeneration, and infection. We highlight the neuroprotective nature of certain myeloid cells by emphasizing their therapeutic potential for the treatment of neurological conditions. In this review, Herz et al. discuss the vital roles of myeloid cells in central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis and their dysregulation in neurological disorders. The review covers the participation of myeloid cells in pathophysiological processes such as autoimmunity, degeneration, injury, and infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-956
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 20 2017


  • autoimmune
  • dendritic cells
  • granulocytes
  • infection
  • injury
  • macrophages
  • meninges
  • microglia
  • monocytes
  • neurodegeneration


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