Microglia and sexual differentiation of the developing brain: A focus on ontogeny and intrinsic factors.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Sexual differentiation of the brain during early development likely underlies the strong sex biases prevalent in many neurological conditions. Mounting evidence indicates that microglia, the innate immune cells of the central nervous system, are intricately involved in these sex-specific processes of differentiation. In this review, we synthesize literature demonstrating sex differences in microglial number, morphology, transcriptional state, and functionality throughout spatiotemporal development as well as highlight current literature regarding ontogeny of microglia. Along with vanRyzin et al. in this issue, we explore the idea that differences in microglia imparted by chromosomal or ontogeny-related programming can influence microglial-driven sexual differentiation of the brain, as well as the idea that extrinsic differences in the male and female brain microenvironment may in turn impart sex differences in microglia.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bordt, EA; Ceasrine, AM; Bilbo, SD

Published Date

  • June 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 68 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1085 - 1099

PubMed ID

  • 31743527

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7148120

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-1136

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0894-1491

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/glia.23753


  • eng