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Scientists have pinpointed a mutated gene as key to the development of some types of glioma brain tumour. The mutation leads to hugely increased levels of a chemical in the brain, which seems to feed the cancer. The Nature study suggests that detecting higher levels of the chemical could provide doctors with a useful diagnostic tool. It also raises hopes that blocking production of the chemical might prevent the cancer getting worse. People with particular brain tumours, such as lower-grade gliomas, often carry a mutated version of a gene that controls production of an enzyme called IDH1. The latest study, by US firm Agios Pharmaceuticals, shows that these mutations change the way the enzyme works and result in the build-up of high levels of a chemical called 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG) in the brain. Researchers found malignant glioma samples with IDH1 mutations had 100 times more 2HG than similar samples from patients without the mutation. They said measuring 2HG levels could be used to help identify patients with IDH1 mutant brain tumours. Writing in the journal, the researchers said: "This will be important for prognosis as patients with IDH1 mutations live longer than patients with gliomas characterised by other mutations. "In addition, patients with lower-grade gliomas may benefit by the therapeutic inhibition of 2HG production. Inhibition of 2HG production by mutant IDH1 might slow or halt conversion of lower-grade glioma into lethal secondary glioblastoma, changing the course of the disease." (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 13492 - Posted: 11.24.2009

Scientists at Cambridge University have made a major breakthrough researching brain tumours in children. For the first time a sequence of DNA present in around two-thirds of the most common tumour has been pinpointed. Pilocytic astrocytomas is diagnosed in 145 children from five to 19 every year, with nearly 40 cases untreatable. As little is known about the causes and genetics of brain tumours, it is hoped the findings could lead to better treatment. Professor Peter Collins, who led the research at Cambridge University, carried out genetic scans on 44 pilocytic astrocytoma and found a DNA sequence rearranged on a chromosome in the majority of the samples. The rearrangement creates a fusion gene, a hybrid created from two separate genes. It is the first time fusion activity has been associated with a brain tumour. Professor Collins said: "If we can diagnose exactly which type of brain tumour a child has as early as possible, the tumour is more likely to be treated successfully. We also hope the findings will mean it is possible to create therapies in the future that block the activity of the fusion gene and halt the growth of tumour cells." (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 12200 - Posted: 11.01.2008

Researchers have developed a "man-made" scorpion venom to be used in the treatment of brain tumours. The venom is used as a carrier to deliver radioactive iodine into tumour cells left behind after surgery has removed the bulk of the tumour. So far the technique has been tested in 18 patients and further trials are under way, a report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology says. Initial findings suggest the treatment is well-tolerated and may be effective. Gliomas are a particularly aggressive form of brain tumours, with only 8% of patients surviving two years and 3% surviving five years from the time of diagnosis. Despite advances in surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, there has been little improvement in length of survival for patients with gliomas. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in California, carried out a study using TM-601, a synthetic version of a peptide, that naturally occurs in the venom of the Giant Yellow Israeli scorpion. Unlike many substances, the peptide can pass through the bloodstream into the brain and can bind to glioma cells. Patients in the study first had surgery to remove their tumour. Then 14 to 28 days later, a single, low dose of TM-601 with radioactive iodine attached was injected into the cavity from which the tumour had been removed. (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 9186 - Posted: 07.31.2006

A vaccine has been developed which may be able to fight the most aggressive form of brain tumour, scientists say. US researchers say their vaccine increased survival times for the 23 glioblastoma multiforme patients they tested it on by at least 18 months. Only four patients went on to die from the cancer, the study to be presented at a meeting of experts in the US said. A larger trial of the jab, which works by targeting a protein thought to drive the tumour's spread, is now planned. It uses an artificial form of the protein, which is found on the outside of 30-50% of tumours, to alert the immune system to its presence and attack it. The brain is tricked into thinking the protein, known as EGFRvIII, is foreign, and fighter cells in the immune system are sent in. Amy Heimberger, assistant professor of neurosurgery at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, said the vaccine was an easy-to-use "off-the-shelf" treatment that could potentially help half of all patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). She said results from the trial showed the vaccine significantly delays the progression of tumours until the cancer finds a new way to grow. But when tumours did grow again they did not display the EGFRvIII protein which led researchers to conclude that the vaccine had worked. Professor Heimberger said: "This is a proof of concept, and optimal use of the vaccine may be with chemotherapy to further retard progression. "Still, this is exciting because people have been trying to use immunotherapy against gliomas for a long time." (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 8855 - Posted: 05.01.2006

By Ker Than A new study finds that a cell once believed to serve neurons instead may perform the crucial function of regulating blood flow in the brain. The discovery challenges a basic assumption in neuroscience and could have implications for interpreting brain scans and understanding what occurs during brain trauma and Alzheimer's disease. Oxygen is the main fuel of biological cells. It is transported throughout the body by way of the circulatory system. Not surprisingly, the brain is one of the most voracious consumers of oxygen, and a basic assumption in neuroscience is that the more active a brain region is, the more oxygen (and thus blood) its neurons require. This assumption forms the foundation for sophisticated brain imaging techniques such as PET and functional MRI scans. By scanning the brain while subjects perform certain tasks, scientists have been able to pinpoint specialized brain regions for phenomena such as emotion or language. Star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes were traditionally thought of as housekeeping cells that helped nourish the brain under the direction of the neurons. The new study found that the astrocytes can directly control blood flow without being told. 2006 LiveScience.com.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 8370 - Posted: 01.11.2006

Scientists at New York University School of Medicine report in a new study that they have identified the molecular switch that turns on the production of myelin, the fatty insulation around nerve cells that ensures swift and efficient communication in the nervous system. The study, published in the September 1, 2005, issue of the journal Neuron, may provide a new avenue for treating nervous system diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which are associated with damage to myelin. A team led by James L. Salzer, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Cell Biology and Neurology at NYU School of Medicine, identified the long-sought factor that determines whether or not nerve cells will be wrapped in thick layers of myelin, producing the biological equivalent of a jelly roll. Using a sophisticated system for growing nerve cells in laboratory dishes, the team identified a gene called neuregulin as the myelin signal. This signal directs Schwann cells, the nervous system's cellular architects, to build elaborate sheaths of myelin around the axons of nerve cells. Axons are the long cable-like arms of nerve cells that send messages to other cells. The construction of myelin sheath has been called one of the most beautiful examples of cell specialization in nature. Myelin forms the so-called white matter in the nervous system and constitutes 50 percent of the weight of the brain. It is also an important component of the spinal cord, and of nerves in other parts of the body. It has been known for almost 170 years that there are two kinds of axons --one is wrapped in myelin and appears white and the other is not and appears gray.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 7831 - Posted: 09.01.2005

Scientists have identified a chemical that can sneak through the blood-brain barrier to treat tumours. The barrier exists to prevent toxic substances getting into the brain, which makes it hard to deliver drugs. Researchers found enough of the chemical, JV-1-36, could bypass the guard to block tumour growth. The University of Saint Louis study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, suggests the compound may also be useful in treating other cancers. The team carried out tests on mice who had had malignant glioblastomas, the most common form of brain tumour, implanted. They then gave an intravenous injection of JV-1-36, which inhibits the effect of the hypothalamic growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). GHRH's role should be to trigger the hormone that makes children grow, but it has also been found to fuel the growth of cancerous tumours. Receptors for the hormone have been found in other cancer cells including breast, ovary, prostate, pancreas and colon. The researchers found that the P-gp system, which acts as an extra "security guard" at the blood brain barrier and usually keeps anti-cancer drugs out of the brain, blocked some of the JV-1-36, but let much of it pass into the brain. The researchers say the compounds gets into the brain by dissolving into the cell membranes which comprise the blood-brain barrier, and not being picked up by P-gp. They say this appears to be because it is not recognised as being a "foreign" substance. (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 5: Hormones and the Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 7807 - Posted: 08.27.2005

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Goettingen (Germany) have uncovered the behaviour of microglial cells in the brain. In the current online edition of Science (Science, Epub ahead of print, 14. April 2005) they report on the busy action of these immune defense cells in the normal brain and their rapid response to cerebral hemorrhage in the first few hours following injury. Their imaging approach is transferable to other models of disease, and monitoring microglia behaviour under such circumstances promises to substantially enhance our knowledge about brain pathologies. Microglial cells are the primary immunocompetent cells in the brain. They are the first responsive element to any kind of brain damage or injury. Microglia are critically involved, for example, in neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. So far, microglial cells have been studied in vitro, i.e. outside the living organism. As a result, key aspects of microglia function have remained elusive such as their behavior in the intact brain or their immediate response to brain injury. Now a German team of researchers from two Max Planck Institutes in Heidelberg and Goettingen (Germany) report a breakthrough in the study of microglial cells in vivo. They uncovered the behaviour of microglial cells in the intact brain by making use of two key technologies: two-photon microscopy and a transgenic mouse model. While mice employed in their experiments were genetically modified to produce a green fluorescent protein (GFP), infrared laser light was used to excite GFPs and thus to visualize stained cells in the micoscope via detection of emitted fluorescent light - even through the intact mouse skullcap. Their findings appear in this weeks online edition of Science (Epub ahead of print).

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 7206 - Posted: 04.16.2005

Traditionally viewed as supporting actors, cells known as glia may be essential for the normal development of nerve cells responsible for hearing and balance, according to new University of Utah research. The study is reported in the January 6, 2005 issue of Neuron and is co-authored by scientists at the University of Washington. "Using zebrafish as a model, we've demonstrated that glial cells play a previously unidentified role in regulating the development of sensory hair cell precursors -- the specialized neurons found in the inner ear of humans that make hearing possible. This research increases our understanding of how nerve cells develop and whether it may be possible to regenerate these types of cells in humans one day," said Tatjana Piotrowski, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Scientists long have known that glial cells, or simply glia, are essential for healthy nerve cells. However, in the last 10 years scientists have learned that glia aren't just "glue" holding nerve cells together. Glia communicate with each other and even influence synapse formation between neurons. Piotrowski's research in zebrafish focuses on the development of sensory neurons known as hair cells. Like humans, zebrafish use hair cells to detect sound and motion. However, in humans hair cells are buried deep inside the inner ear making them difficult to access. Hair cells in zebrafish are located on the surface of their body and help the fish swim in groups and avoid predators.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 9: Hearing, Vestibular Perception, Taste, and Smell
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 6: Hearing, Balance, Taste, and Smell
Link ID: 6663 - Posted: 01.06.2005

Scientists have developed a treatment which may be effective against the most common and deadly form of brain cancer. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) usually grows so quickly that it kills within a year of diagnosis, and neither surgery, drugs or radiotherapy can stop it. But a team from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has boosted survival of lab rats with the tumour by injecting them with a protein. Details are published in the journal Molecular Therapy. The researchers used a genetically modified virus to deliver a small protein called hsFlt3L into the brains of lab rats who had developed GBM. They found that the protein increased the number of immune cells in the brain, and significantly slowed tumour growth. Seven out of 10 rats given a high dose of the protein survived for over a year. There were no signs of adverse side effects. In contrast, rats treated with a dummy injection died from their tumours within one week. Among rats treated with hsFlt3L, 33% were completely tumour free at three months, while all those who survived for six months or longer had no tumours at all. (C) BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 6547 - Posted: 12.07.2004

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A laser-based microscopy technique may have settled a long-standing debate among neuroscientists about how brain cells process energy -- while explaining what's really happening in PET (positron emission tomography) imaging and offering a better way to observe the damage that strokes and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, wreak on brain cells. Multi-photon microscopy scans by Cornell University biophysicists of living brain tissue, as reported in the latest issue of Science (July 2, 2004), reveal exactly how and when neurons (the cells that do the thinking) and astrocytes (the starburst-shaped glial cells that service neurons) interact to burn oxygen and glucose, after astrocytes make lactate from glucose in the bloodstream, to meet the extraordinary energy demands of the brain. Based on imaging of two different energy states of NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, a coenzyme involved in brain-cell metabolism), the Cornell biophysicists say they have both confirmed and redefined the controversial "astrocyte-neuron lactate shuttle" hypothesis for brain energy metabolism. "Over the past decade scientists have passionately debated whether the activated brain burns glucose completely to water or incompletely to lactate," said Karl A. Kasischke, M.D., lead author of the Science paper titled "Neural Activity Triggers Neuronal Oxidative Metabolism Followed by Astrocytic Glycolysis."

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 5742 - Posted: 07.02.2004

For the first time, researchers are characterizing the molecular processes that turn brain cancer deadly, and their work may result in a diagnostic test that can predict patient survival. The research, by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center demonstrates that degree of loss of a crucial tumor suppressor gene, the AP-2( transcription factor, correlates with progression of different human gliomas. For example, researchers found that normal brain tissue, as well as grade II gliomas, maintained expression of AP-2(, whereas 96 percent of grade III glioma, and almost 99 percent of grade IV glioma had lost AP-2(. "Although previous molecular markers have been identified in malignant gliomas, none have exhibited such a strong correlation with progression, indicating the pivotal role of this gene," says Amy Heimberger, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 3658 - Posted: 04.06.2003

A new model for the Parkinson related illness multiple system atrophy In this month's issue of EMBO Reports Kahle et al. describe how they genetically engineered a mouse to show pathological symptoms similar to those of human patients suffering from the neural disease Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), also known as Shy-Drager-Syndrome. The model could help researchers to develop and test new efficient drugs against this wide spread disease. More than 100,000 Europeans and 100,000 US-Americans suffer from MSA. Affected individuals either show symptoms similar to those of patients suffering from Parkinson's Disease or have a strong deterioration in their sense of balance. For this reason the disease is often diagnosed incorrectly. Doctors know very little about the pathology of the disease. However, one characteristic is that some brain cells show abnormal changes. Affected mature oligodendrocytes, the cells that form the isolating outer layer surrounding nerve fibers, produce a small protein called alpha-synuclein. They deposit this protein in the form of pathological structures called glial cytoplasmic inclusions.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 2230 - Posted: 06.10.2002

Implanting olfactory ensheathing glial cells into the spinal cords of paralyzed adult rats recently has been shown to promote neuronal cell repair and restore function. After transplantation, the rats were able to walk, even climb over complex terrain, and respond to touch and proprioception (stimuli originating in muscles and tendons) in their hind-limbs. These results are the most dramatic functional and histological repair yet achieved after complete spinal cord transection in adult mammals, and they open new avenues in the search for treatment of spinal cord injuries in other mammals, including humans. The leader of the group of scientists who achieved this, Dr. Almudena Ramon-Cueto, Institute of Biomedicine, Spanish Council for Scientific Research in Valencia, is one of a panel of experts speaking in New Orleans April 22 at an Experimental Biology 2002 American Association of Anatomists symposium on Olfactory Ensheathing Cells: Therapeutic Potential in Spinal Cord Injury. Chaired by Dr. Kathryn J. Jones, Loyola University in Chicago, the panel discusses the location and structure olfactory ensheathing cells, how they work, and why the best hope for restoring function in human spinal cord injury patients might well lie in their own noses.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 1953 - Posted: 04.25.2002

John Travis While cholesterol has a bad reputation for clogging up arteries and causing heart disease, this fatty molecule is an essential part of all cell membranes. Scientists have now found to their surprise that cholesterol may also regulate when and where nerve cells in the brain form the vital junctions known as synapses. Equally unforeseen, say investigators, is their finding that non-nerve cells called glia seem to provide the cholesterol that controls synapse building. Glia make up 90 percent of the cells in the brain, but they have traditionally drawn less interest than have nerve cells, or neurons, which relay electrical signals by releasing chemicals at synapses. Barres, B.A., and S.J. Smith. 2001. Cholesterol-Making or breaking the synapse. Science 294(Nov. 9):1296-1297. From Science News, Vol. 160, No. 20, Nov. 17, 2001, p. 309. Copyright ©2001 Science Service. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 1009 - Posted: 11.17.2001

The axon is vital for cellular communication. Yet, in the adult spinal cord and brain these thin processes that jut out from nerve cells have trouble regenerating after an injury. The result is permanent impairments, such as a loss of movement. For years, scientists have searched to understand why axons refuse to rebuild. Now increasing research finds that a covering on the axon, termed myelin, is at least partly to blame. The discovery is helping researchers get closer to developing human treatments that could repair damage and restore function. After an unexpected detour on Saturday's bike ride, the gouged skin on your knee easily repairs itself. No such luck for your damaged spinal cord. Copyright © 2001 Society for Neuroscience. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 896 - Posted: 11.01.2001

Nature Medicine, September 2001
Brain tumors, such as those that affect glial cells, are amongst the most lethal of all cancers. Oftentimes, before a cure or treatment for a disease can be developed, it is vital to understand the pathology underlying the disease. Now, scientists at New York Medical College have identified a mechanism by which gliomas spread rapidly through brain tissue and perhaps more importantly, drugs already exist that may be able to curb this spread. Maiken Nedergaard and colleagues have discovered that glioma tumor cells release the neurotransmitter glutamate, which carves a path of destruction through brain tissue allowing the tumor cells to advance. Compounds that block the release of glutamate, such as MK801, were able to slow the growth of tumors implanted in the brains of adult rats.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 509 - Posted: 10.20.2001

Researchers have the first evidence that cues that guide migrating nerve cells also direct white blood cells called leukocytes, which have to find their way to inflamed, infected or damaged areas of the body. The study is reported in the April 19 issue of Nature. "This similarity between the immune system and nervous system might suggest new therapeutic approaches to immune system disorders such as inflammation and autoimmune diseases," says Yi Rao, Ph.D., an associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Wu JY, Feng L, Park H-T, Havlioglu N, Wen L, Tang H, Bacon KB, Jiang Z, Zhang X, Rao Y. The neuronal repellent Slit inhibits leukocyte chemotaxis induced by chemotactic factors. Nature, April 19, 2001.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 256 - Posted: 10.20.2001

Sonic boom in oligodendrogenesis Heather Wood The signalling protein sonic hedgehog ( Shh) is pivotal to many aspects of vertebrate neural development, including dorsoventral patterning and specification of motor neurons and ventral interneurons. In the spinal cord, Shh also specifies oligodendrocytes, and Nery et al. have questioned whether it might have a similar role in the brain. As they report in Development, there is now evidence that Shh promotes oligodendrogenesis in the mammalian telencephalon. References and links ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER Nery , S. et al. Sonic hedgehog contributes to oligodendrocyte specification in the mammalian forebrain. Development 128, 527540 ( 2001) PubMed FURTHER READING Rogister, B. et al. From neural stem cells to myelinating oligodendrocytes. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 14, 287300 (1999) PubMed WEB SITE Gordon Fishell's lab ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LIFE SCIENCES Neuronal subtype identity regulation Nature © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2001 Registered No. 785998 England

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 218 - Posted: 10.20.2001

After decades of neglect by researchers more interested in know-it-all neurons, the brain cells classified as "glia" are getting some respect. They've been written off as support scaffolding for neurons or as caterers that provide nutrition. But now researchers have found that glia play an important role in setting up neural networks: They tell neurons to start talking to one another. Neurons send and receive messages through connections called synapses, points of near-contact where neurons swap chemical signals. The first indication that glia boost synaptic communication came in 1997, when a team led by neurobiologist Ben Barres of Stanford University reported that neurons grown near glial cells called astrocytes were 10 times as responsive as neurons grown alone. They just didn't know why. --LAURA HELMUTH Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 174 - Posted: 10.20.2001