Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astrocytes affect brain's information signaling, research finds

Date:
October 18, 2010
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Astrocytes are the most common type of cell in the brain and play an important role in the function of neurons -- nerve cells. New research from Sweden shows that they are also directly involved in the regulation of signaling between neurons.

Astrocytes are the most common type of cell in the brain and play an important role in the function of neurons -- nerve cells. New research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that they are also directly involved in the regulation of signalling between neurons.

"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.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Andersson, E. Hanse. Astrocytes Impose Postburst Depression of Release Probability at Hippocampal Glutamate Synapses. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010; 30 (16): 5776 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3957-09.2010

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Astrocytes affect brain's information signaling, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100614092528.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2010, October 18). Astrocytes affect brain's information signaling, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100614092528.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Astrocytes affect brain's information signaling, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100614092528.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. 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