Microglial Alterations Can Make You Depressed


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Microglia changes - no surprise - appear to be able to affect your ability to think and your mood =and contribute to mental illness. This is an important finding in several ways.

For one almost all treatment of depression, etc. effects the activity of the monamine neurons. It has no effect on microglial/astrocyte functioning. Antidepressants certainly can help but for the many the help is quite limited.

One of the more intriguing aspects of astrocyte functioning is the effect they have on the metabolism of the brain. They bridge the gap between the blood vessels and the neurons in he brain and in doing so regulate blood flows. As such they are important in providing nutrients to the neurons and in removing toxins and waste by-products. They also release lactate and brain lactate levels are increased in ME/CFS.

Astrocytes also play an important role in triggering glucose uptake and aerobic activity in the neurons. They are the only cells in the brain able to store energy in the form of glycogen.

Microglial cells, on the other hand, are on the watch for pathogens and controls the immune response in the brain. They're responsible for the neuroinflammation present in many neurological disorders and probably ME/CFS.

The first micoglial/astrocyte findings highlighted the impact these cells have on cognition functioning including problems with short-term memory. Other studies have found problems with blood flow and metabolism are common in depression.


Front Cell Neurosci. 2015 Dec 16;9:468. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2015.00468. eCollection 2015.A New Outlook on Mental Illnesses: Glial Involvement Beyond the Glue.
Elsayed M1, Magistretti PJ2.

Mental illnesses have long been perceived as the exclusive consequence of abnormalities in neuronal functioning. Until recently, the role of glial cells in the pathophysiology of mental diseases has largely been overlooked. However recently, multiple lines of evidence suggest more diverse and significant functions of glia with behavior-altering effects.

The newly ascribed roles of astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia have led to their examination in brain pathology and mental illnesses. Indeed, abnormalities in glial function, structure and density have been observed in postmortem brain studies of subjects diagnosed with mental illnesses.

In this review, we discuss the newly identified functions of glia and highlight the findings of glial abnormalities in psychiatric disorders. We discuss these preclinical and clinical findings implicating the involvement of glial cells in mental illnesses with the perspective that these cells may represent a new target for treatment.

NG2 glia; astrocyte; cognition; glia; microglia; mood; oligodendrocyte; psychiatric disorder
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Well-Known Member
This is an interesting area. About a year ago, you posted about Jarred Younger's work at UAB.
The video he made for Pandora is a good introduction.

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