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Epigenetic control of microglial immune responses.

Immunological reviews

Authors: Rebekka Scholz, Desirée Brösamle, Xidi Yuan, Marc Beyer, Jonas J Neher

Microglia, the major population of brain-resident macrophages, are now recognized as a heterogeneous population comprising several cell subtypes with different (so far mostly supposed) functions in health and disease. A number of studies have performed molecular characterization of these different microglial activation states over the last years making use of "omics" technologies, that is transcriptomics, proteomics and, less frequently, epigenomics profiling. These approaches offer the possibility to identify disease mechanisms, discover novel diagnostic biomarkers, and develop new therapeutic strategies. Here, we focus on epigenetic profiling as a means to understand microglial immune responses beyond what other omics methods can offer, that is, revealing past and present molecular responses, gene regulatory networks and potential future response trajectories, and defining cell subtype-specific disease relevance through mapping non-coding genetic variants. We review the current knowledge in the field regarding epigenetic regulation of microglial identity and function, provide an exemplary analysis that demonstrates the advantages of performing joint transcriptomic and epigenomic profiling of single microglial cells and discuss how comprehensive epigenetic analyses may enhance our understanding of microglial pathophysiology.

© 2024 The Authors. Immunological Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

PMID: 38491845

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