"Our results contribute to the insight that astrocytes can affect how the brain processes and stores information,” says My Andersson, a researcher from the Department of Physiology at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology. “This means that astrocytes should be given more attention in future when looking for causes of diseases that affect signalling between neurons, such as epilepsy.”
Besides neurons, the brain consists of a large number of astrocytes. These have previously been viewed primarily as the brain’s housekeeping cells, whose roles include regulating blood flow in different parts of the brain. Previous research has also shown that astrocytes can respond to and communicate with neurons.
Our personality, thoughts and emotions are created by activity in different networks of nerve cells in the brain.
“This activity takes the form of electrical impulses which are transmitted between neurons via synapses,” says Andersson. “In the synapses, transmitter substances are released, the most common being the amino acid glutamate, which helps to transfer signals from one neuron to another.”
In studies of rats, the researchers were able to measure flows from the synapses in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is important for memory and learning. They found that astrocytes affect how effectively signals are transferred between the synapses and how this signalling changes over time. What happens is that the astrocytes sense activity from the synapses and respond by reducing the release of glutamate.
The researchers’ discovery could lead to a whole new understanding of how the transfer of information between synapses is regulated, and of the importance of astrocytes in this process.
Professor Eric Hanse, Department of Physiology, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, tel:+46 (0)31 786 3510, mobile: +46 (0)733 823424, e-mail: email@example.comJournal: Journal of Neuroscience, Apr 2010; 30: 5776 – 5780
Authors: My Andersson and Eric Hanse
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy