Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astrocytes And Synaptic Plasticity

Date:
October 13, 2008
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
By mopping up excess neurotrophic factor from neuronal synapses, astrocytes may finely tune synaptic transmission to affect processes such as learning and memory.

By mopping up excess neurotrophic factor from neuronal synapses, astrocytes may finely tune synaptic transmission to affect processes such as learning and memory, say Bergami et al.

The major cellular events of learning and memory are long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), both of which affect neurons' ability to communicate with one another. Neurons that have undergone LTP display a stronger electrical response to the same level of a stimulus, whereas neurons that have gone through LTD display a weaker response. These changes are thought to result from modifications of the neuronal synapses, such as alterations in the density of postsynaptic receptors, or downstream signaling events.

Secretion of the neurotrophic factor BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) has been implicated in long-term synaptic modification, and the function of BDNF on synaptic strength depends on its particular form: in its pro-BDNF form it is believed to promote LTD, and in its mature form it prompts LTP. Neurons were thought to secrete pro-BDNF, which then matured into BDNF in the synaptic space. However, a recent study suggests that only mature BDNF is secreted, pro-BDNF being processed intracellularly.

To get to the bottom of things, Bergami et al. investigated the fate of both forms after LTP induction in brain slices from the rat cortex. By fluorescent immunohistochemistry they showed that that neurons indeed secrete both mature and pro-BDNF, but that a large amount of the pro-BDNF is immediately taken up by astrocytes.

Astrocytes, previously thought to be unimportant in neuronal transmission, have recently been implicated in long-term modulation of neuronal synapses. For example, they release the neurotransmitter glutamate into the synapse prompting LTP. By specifically mopping up pro-BDNF, astrocytes seem to have another means to assist in LTP. However, while it's likely that most pro-BDNF gets degraded inside astrocytes, say the authors, some gets recycled and re-released, suggesting that astrocytes in fact fine-tune synaptic plasticity.

Reference: Bergami, M., et al. 2008. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200806137.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "Astrocytes And Synaptic Plasticity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013084332.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2008, October 13). Astrocytes And Synaptic Plasticity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013084332.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "Astrocytes And Synaptic Plasticity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013084332.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins