Microglia, the brain resident macrophages, critically shape forebrain neuronal circuits. However, their precise function in the cerebellum is unknown. Here we show that human and mouse cerebellar microglia express a unique molecular program distinct from forebrain microglia. Cerebellar microglial identity was driven by the CSF-1R ligand CSF-1, independently of the alternate CSF-1R ligand, IL-34. Accordingly, CSF-1 depletion from Nestin+ cells led to severe depletion and transcriptional alterations of cerebellar microglia, while microglia in the forebrain remained intact. Strikingly, CSF-1 deficiency and alteration of cerebellar microglia were associated with reduced Purkinje cells, altered neuronal function, and defects in motor learning and social novelty interactions. These findings reveal a novel CSF-1–CSF-1R signaling-mediated mechanism that contributes to motor function and social behavior.

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