The domains of individual astrocytes are well contained in both healthy and damaged tissue. This is shown in a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The study was performed in collaboration with a US research team. The findings are being presented in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Astrocytes are a type of non-neuronal cells that exits in all parts of the central nervous system. They form a complex network in the brain, where their offshoots are in constant contact with other astrocytes.
"The discovery is a major step toward a better understanding of the course of events in brain damage, stroke, or dementia. Astrocytes control many neurological functions, including the brain's capacity to repair itself," says Professor Milos Pekny.
Until now scientists have assumed that astrocyte shoots grow longer and thicker in various pathological conditions and that this would mean that the cell shoots cross each other in the brain. This theory has now been disproven by the study, which provides another picture of how astrocytes are affected by a disease.
"It's true that the shoots from reactive astrocytes become thicker, but the overall range of the cells does not increase. Altogether cells attain the same volume of brain tissue as previously and they do not penetrate into the territory of neighboring astrocytes," says researcher Ulrika Wilhelmsson.
When there is damage to the brain or if a stroke occurs, astrocytes help limit the damage, but later they also cause negative scarring, which makes it more difficult for the brain to repair itself.
Previous studies have shown that in connection with brain damage astrocytes alter their production and release of molecules.
"Astrocytes communicate with each other by exchanging ions and various molecules through contact with the shoots of neighboring astrocytes. If the network is intact, as in stroke, it can be assumed that the astrocyte communication network is rather stable," says Ulrika Wilhelmsson.
Even though astrocytes are the most common cell type in the human brain, they have previously been difficult to study.
This study used a new strategy to visualize the shoots of reactive cells. A dye was injected into contiguous astrocytes so the scientists could see how much the domains of the cells overlapped.
The findings are based on studies of brain tissue from hippocampus and the cerebral cortex in mice.Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Authors: Ulrika Wilhelmsson, Eric A. Bushong, Diana L. Price, Benjamin L. Smarr, Van Phung, Masako Terada, Mark H. Ellisman, Milos Pekny
Professor Milos Pekny, phone: +46 31-773 32 69; cell phone: +46 70-913 48 65; e-mail: email@example.com Ulrika Wilhelmsson, PhD, phone: +46 31-773 34 65; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elin Lindström Claessen | idw
Funding of Collaborative Research Center developing nanomaterials for cancer immunotherapy extended
28.06.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Zeolite catalysts pave the road to decentral chemical processes Confined space increases reactivity
28.06.2017 | Technische Universität München
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine