Figure 1: Astrocytes are star-shaped cells with numerous fine projections that ensheath synapses in the brain. Copyright : © 2012 Hajime Hirase
Furthermore, the researchers found that stimulation of the NBM led to an increase in the extracellular concentration of the amino acid D-serine in the normal, but not the mutant, mice. D-serine is secreted by astrocytes and activates NMDARs. Hirase’s team had previously shown that astrocytes are electrically silent in living rodents even in the presence of neural activity. The new findings showed that the biochemical, as opposed to electrical, activation of astrocytes induces them to release the transmitter that modulates synaptic plasticity in the neuronal circuitry.
“Our study is probably the first to show that calcium signaling in astrocytes is related to neuronal circuit plasticity in living animals,” says Hirase. “We are now studying if this type of calcium signaling occurs in all parts of an astrocyte or is restricted to some parts of the cell.”
2.Mishima, T. & Hirase, H. In vivo intracellular recording suggests that gray matter astrocytes in mature cerebral cortex and hippocampus are electrophysiologically homogeneous. The Journal of Neuroscience 30, 3093–3100 (2010).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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