Neuroscience

Fewer scars in the central nervous system

Neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs), from the so-called subventricular zone (SVZ), can help to repair a brain damaged by central nervous system disorders. It is known that the microenvironment within the SVZ directs ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Consequences of Zika virus infection on glial cells

Studies regarding the brain damage caused by the Zika virus have revealed the virus' predilection for a certain neural cell: the astrocyte. However, few studies have sought to identify the infection effects on these cells, ...

Health

Exposure to environmental PCBs impairs brain function in mice

Human-made toxic chemicals that linger indefinitely in the environment disrupt the performance of critical helper cells in the mouse brain, leading to impaired function over long-term exposures, say neuroscientists at Georgetown ...

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Astrocyte

Astrocytes (etymology: astron gk. star, cyte gk. cell), also known collectively as astroglia, are characteristic star-shaped glial cells in the brain and spinal cord. They perform many functions, including biochemical support of endothelial cells that form the blood–brain barrier, provision of nutrients to the nervous tissue, maintenance of extracellular ion balance, and a role in the repair and scarring process of the brain and spinal cord following traumatic injuries.

Research since the mid-1990s has shown that astrocytes propagate intercellular Ca2+ waves over long distances in response to stimulation, and, similar to neurons, release transmitters (called gliotransmitters) in a Ca2+-dependent manner. Data suggest that astrocytes also signal to neurons through Ca2+-dependent release of glutamate. Such discoveries have made astrocytes an important area of research within the field of neuroscience.

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