Triggering receptors expressed by myeloid cells (TREMs) belong to a rapidly expanding family of receptors that include activating and inhibitory isoforms encoded by a gene cluster linked to the MHC. TREM1 and TREM2 activate myeloid cells by signalling through the adaptor protein DAP12. TREM1 triggers phagocyte secretion of pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines, amplifying the inflammation that is induced by bacteria and fungi. TREM2 activates monocyte-derived dendritic cells and regulates osteoclast development. Remarkably, TREM2 deficiency leads to a severe disease that is characterized by bone cysts and demyelination of the central nervous system, which results in dementia, implying that the function of TREM2 extends beyond the immune system.