Neuroscience

Cell reprogramming could aid spinal cord injury recovery

Cells called astrocytes normally support our neurons, and now scientists are working to reprogram the star-shaped cells into neurons that help reconnect the brain and body after a spinal cord injury.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Study illuminates how COVID-19 worms its way into the brain

New research offers an up-close view of how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to the brain. The study helps explain the alarming array of neurological symptoms reported in some patients with COVID-19, ...

Neuroscience

Controlled scar formation in the brain

When the brain suffers injury or infection, glial cells surrounding the affected site act to preserve the brain's sensitive nerve cells and prevent excessive damage. A team of researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin ...

Neuroscience

Healthy sleep may rely on long-overlooked brain cells

For something we spend one-third of our lives doing, we still understand remarkably little about how sleep works—for example, why can some people sleep deeply through any disturbance, while others regularly toss and turn ...

Medical research

Astrocytes derived from patients with bipolar disorder malfunction

Brain cells called astrocytes derived from the induced pluripotent stem cells of patients with bipolar disorder offer suboptimal support for neuronal activity. In a paper appearing March 4th in the journal Stem Cell Reports, ...

Neuroscience

Acute breakdown of the glial network in epilepsy

Tohoku University scientists and their colleagues in Germany have revealed that a first-time exposure to only a brief period of brain hyperactivity resulted in an acute breakdown of the inter-cellular network of glial cells. ...

Medical research

Biologists suggest a new substance to suppress neuroinflammation

Biologists from RUDN University confirmed that a well-known spasmolytic drug called hymecromone can suppress the inflammatory response in astrocytes, important glial cells of the central nervous system. Potentially, it could ...

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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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