The existence of microglia as a cell group in the central nervous system was first described by del Rio Hortega in 1919 and has been universally accepted. However, the origin of these cells and their relation to neuroglia1 has remained controversial.
Certain authors have maintained that microglia and neuroglia have a common origin from the neuroepithelium of the primitive medullary canal. On the other hand, Hortega and many others have expressed the belief that microglia cells are derived from mesenchymal cells and have no direct genetic relationship to astrocytes and oligodendroglia cells. This difference is fundamental and of great significance in understanding the biologic functions of these cells.
With few exceptions, all previous embryologic studies on microglia have been made on laboratory animals. In the present work, the origin and evolution of these cells were traced in a series of human embryos. It was possible to demonstrate that microglia
KERSHMAN J. GENESIS OF MICROGLIA IN THE HUMAN BRAIN. Arch NeurPsych. 1939;41(1):24–50. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1939.02270130034002
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