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Funding News - NINDS Seeks Applications for Research on the Role of Microglia

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  • The information on this page is for historical and research purposes only.
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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) invite applications for research grants on the role of microglia in normal and abnormal immune responses in the nervous system.

Microglia are a relatively under-recognized, widely distributed cell population within brain parenchyma constituting about 1 to 2 percent of all cells. They are well-known to neuropathologists because they harbor agents including viruses such as HIV-1, treponema pallidum, fungi, and prions during sub-acute or chronic central nervous system (CNS) infections. The ability of microglia to harbor HIV-1 has excited new interest in these cells. As the major infected CNS cell, they play a key role in the development of AIDS dementia possibly by production of toxic factors following infection, or more directly by being unable to provide normal metabolic support for neurons.

Examples of potential research include studies to: define the relationship between the various types of microglia and macrophages and their cells of origin within and without the nervous system; define phenotypic markers that characterize microglia, distinguishing between microglial types and states of activation; investigate mechanisms of activation of microglia and their relationships to activation of T cells; delineate the contribution of microglia to the development of autoimmunity of the CNS via antigen presentation or production of specific cytokines; advance studies of the contributions of peripheral blood monocytes and macrophages to the presence of infected resident microglia; investigate the ability of microglia to elaborate chemokines and cytokines and to express receptors for chemokines and cytokines; investigate contributions of perivascular microglia to the entry of T cells and blood macrophages into the CNS across the blood-brain barrier; investigate the role of microglia in diseases such as multiple sclerosis and HIV infections, including the etiology of AIDS dementia; and study the potential of microglia to serve as therapeutic tools for delivery of drugs, enzymes, trophic factors, or genes into the CNS.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. A. P. Kerza-Kwiatecki, Neural Environment Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2115, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: (301) 496-1431; fax: (301) 402-2060; e-mail: ak45w@nih.gov.