Neuroscience

Some autism spectrum disorder symptoms linked to astrocytes

Abnormalities in a type of brain cell called astrocytes may play a pivotal role in causing some behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, according to a preclinical study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers identify a potential window for treating ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects as many as 30,000 people in the United States, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year. It weakens muscles over time, impacting physical function ...

Neuroscience

Touch sensitive brain cells controlled by micromagnets

Scientists at UCL have developed a new technique that uses microscopic magnetic particles to remotely activate brain cells; researchers say the discovery in rats could potentially lead to the development of a new class of ...

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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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