Genetics

Discovery of the genetic 'conductor' of brain stem cells

Our brain comprises 85 billion nerve cells and just as many so-called glial cells, which work in close contact with the former to guarantee their proper function. All originate from brain stem cells. But what decides when ...

Neuroscience

New therapeutic strategy to treat Alzheimer's

Researchers from the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona (UBNeuro) have identified a potential therapeutic strategy to treat Alzheimer's, according to a study published in Journal of Neuroscience. In ...

Neuroscience

Researchers describe the first model of mitochondrial epilepsy

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have become the first to describe a model of mitochondrial epilepsy which raises hope for better therapies for patients with this incapacitating condition. Their paper has been published ...

Parkinson's & Movement disorders

Defective glial cells can push neurons toward Parkinson's disease

Researchers from the University of Barcelona have shown that defective versions of human brain cells called astrocytes are linked to the buildup of a toxic protein that is the hallmark of Parkinson's disease. The studied ...

Medical research

New insight into the generation of new neurons in the adult brain

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in collaboration with research groups in Finland, Canada and Slovenia, have discovered a novel and unexpected function of nestin, the best-known ...

Neuroscience

A new strategy for brain regeneration after stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of death and chronic disability in adults, causing a heavy social and economic burden worldwide. However, no treatments exist to restore neuronal circuitry after a stroke. While most neurons are ...

Genetics

How glial cells develop in the brain from neural precursor cells

Two types of cells are active in the brain: nerve cells and glial cells. Glial cells have long been regarded primarily as supportive cells, but researchers increasingly recognize that they play an active role in the communication ...

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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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