Are microglia minding us? Digging up the unconscious mind-brain relationships from a neuropsychoanalytic approach.
Kato, T.~~Kanba, S.~~~
The unconscious mind-brain relationship remains unresolved. From the perspective of neuroscience, neuronal networks including synapses have been dominantly believed to play crucial roles in human mental activities, while glial contribution to mental activities has long been ignored. Recently, it has been suggested that microglia, glial cells with immunological/inflammatory functions, play important roles in psychiatric disorders. Newly revealed microglial roles, such as constant direct contact with synapses even in the normal brain, have defied the common traditional belief that microglia do not contribute to neuronal networks. Recent human neuroeconomic investigations with healthy volunteers using minocycline, an antibiotic with inhibitory effects on microglial activation, suggest that microglia may unconsciously modulate human social behaviors as Ònoise.Ó We herein propose a novel unconscious mind structural system in the brain centering on microglia from a neuropsychoanalytic approach. At least to some extent, microglial activation in the brain may activate unconscious drives as Òpsychological immune memory/reactionÓ in the mind, and result in various emotions, traumatic reactions, psychiatric symptoms including suicidal behaviors, and (psychoanalytic) transference during interpersonal relationships. Microglia have the potential to bridge the huge gap between neuroscience, biological psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis as a key player to connect the conscious and the unconscious world. ~
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