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
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy