Jan 02, 2020
Microglia, Lifestyle Stress, and Neurodegeneration.
Recent years have witnessed a revolution in our understanding of microglia biology, including their major role in the etiology and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Technological advances have enabled the identification of microglial signatures in health and disease, including the development of new models to investigate and manipulate human microglia in vivo in the context of disease. In parallel, genetic association studies have identified several gene risk factors associated with Alzheimer's disease that are specifically or highly expressed by microglia in the central nervous system (CNS). Here, we discuss evidence for the effect of stress, diet, sleep patterns, physical activity, and microbiota composition on microglia biology and consider how lifestyle might influence an individual's predisposition to neurodegenerative diseases. We discuss how different lifestyles and environmental factors might regulate microglia, potentially leading to increased susceptibility to neurodegenerative disease, and we highlight the need to investigate the contribution of modern environmental factors on microglia modulation in neurodegeneration.