Astrocytes may ‘fine tune’ synaptic messages (The Dana Foundation Web Site – 30 December 2008)

Dana_logo Advances in biochemistry techniques have demonstrated that there is more to glial cells than meets the eye.  New work suggests that these cells play a role in 'fine-tuning' synaptic messages between neurons.  A piece about this work, as well as a sidebar exploring glia's connection to sensory function, appears on the Dana Foundation Web Site.

Excerpt:

For centuries,
neuroscientists have pondered what role glial cells may play in
behavior and cognition. Now, with advances in imaging and other
techniques, they have started to closely investigate glial function.
Two new studies suggest that astrocytes, a star-shaped type of glial
cell, may directly participate with synapses to aid long-term
potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LDP), processes linked to
learning and memory.
..

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

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