Microglia are the main immune defense of the central nervous system (CNS). This unique population of cells has a substantial role in development, homeostasis and diseases of the CNS.
From a clinical perspective, it is crucial to understand the function of microglia in disease modeling. Until recently, the tools to study the biology of human microglia were lacking. This obstacle was resolved with the utilization of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), enabling the generation of specific cell types in vitro. A few protocols have been published over the last years aiming to produce functional microglia in vitro from iPS, via hematopoietic differentiation.
We aim to utilize iPS-derived microglia combined with our advanced micro-engineered neurovascular models in order to further understand the microglia biology. Our focus is to assess the impact of microglia on the development of neural networks, evaluate their relevance to human brain endothelium formation and functionality as well as understand their involvement to neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.
Introducing such a novel in-vitro model for studying microglia related mechanisms in health and disease may pave the way to a deeper understanding of the human brain.