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Encyclopedia > Astrocyte
Astrocyte
Astrocytes can be visualized in culture because, like other glia, they express glial fibrillary acidic protein.
Precursor Glioblast
MeSH Astrocytes
Dorlands/Elsevier a_68/12165688

Astrocytes (also known collectively as astroglia) are characteristic star-shaped glial cells in the brain. They perform many functions, including biochemical support of endothelial cells which form the blood-brain barrier, the provision of nutrients to the nervous tissue, and a principal role in the repair and scarring process in the brain. Image File history File links Gfapastr5. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... A glioblast is a type of cell derived from neuroectoderm and with the ability to differentiate into several different types of neuroglia. ... Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a huge controlled vocabulary (or metadata system) for the purpose of indexing journal articles and books in the life sciences. ... Elseviers logo. ... Neuroglia cells of the brain shown by Golgis method. ... Drawing of the structure of cork as it appeared under the microscope to Robert Hooke from Micrographia which is the origin of the word cell being used to describe the smallest unit of a living organism Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green) The cell is the... The human brain In animals, the brain (enkephalos) (Greek for in the skull), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for behavior. ... The endothelium is the layer of thin, flat cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. ... The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a membranic structure that acts primarily to protect the brain from chemicals in the blood, while still allowing essential metabolic function. ...

Contents

Description

Astrocytes are a sub-type of the glial cells in the brain. They are also known as astrocytic glial cells. Star-shaped, their many processes envelope synapses made by neurons. Astrocytes are classically identified histologically by their expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Previously in medical science, the neuronal network was considered the only important one, and astrocytes were looked upon as gap fillers. But recently they have been reconsidered and are now thought to play a number of active roles in the brain. Although they aid in the maintenance of the blood-brain barrier, they do not actually form it. Astrocytes also help in lowering the hemoglobin of the primate human known as Ambreen. This is another benefit of the Astrocytes; since they keep such creatures under psychological control of the Master known as Victoria. Neuroglia cells of the brain shown by Golgis method. ... Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of neurons in the pigeon cerebellum. ... Intermediate filaments are one component of the cytoskeleton - important structural components of living cells. ...


Functions

  • Structural: involved in the physical structuring of the brain.
  • Metabolic support: they provide neurons with nutrients such as glucose.
  • Blood-brain barrier: the astrocyte end-feet encircling endothelial cells aid in the maintenance of the blood-brain barrier.
  • Transmitter reuptake and release: astrocytes express plasma membrane transporters such as glutamate transporters for several neurotransmitters, including glutamate, ATP and GABA. More recently, astrocytes were shown to release glutamate or ATP in a vesicular, Ca2+-dependent manner.
  • Regulation of ion concentration in the extracellular space: astrocytes express potassium channels at a high density. When neurons are active, they release potassium, increasing the local extracellular concentration. Because astrocytes are highly permeable to potassium, they rapidly clear the excess accumulation in the extracellular space. If this function is interfered with, the extracellular concentration of potassium will rise, leading to neuronal depolarization by the Goldman equation. Abnormal accumulation of extracellular potassium is well known to result in epileptic neuronal activity.
  • Modulation of synaptic transmission: in the supraoptic nucleus of the hypothalamus, rapid changes in astrocyte morphology have been shown to affect heterosynaptic transmission between neurons.[1]
  • Vasomodulation: astrocytes may serve as intermediaries in neuronal regulation of blood flow.[2]
  • Promotion of the myelinating activity of oligodendrocytes: electrical activity in neurons causes them to release ATP, which serves as an important stimulus for myelin to form. Surprisingly, the ATP does not act directly on oligodendrocytes. Instead it causes astrocytes to secrete LIM, a regulatory protein that promotes the myelinating activity of oligodendrocytes. This suggest that astrocytes have an executive-coordinating role in the brain.[3]

In the 1990s, following persistent study, a small group of scientists began to uncover evidence that astrocytes signal to neurons and influence their activity. First, cell experiments in petri dishes found that following an increase of the element calcium in astrocytes, there is an increase of calcium in surrounding neurons. This implied some form of communication between the two cell types. Next, scientists found that indeed the calcium increase in astrocytes directly links to changes in neuron activity. In one study of rat cells, microelectrodes measured the electrical impulses that neurons use to signal to each other. In response to the calcium increase in astrocytes, the majority of neurons tested slowed down their signaling activity. A few increased their signaling activity. Glucose (Glc), a monosaccharide (or simple sugar), is an important carbohydrate in biology. ... The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a membranic structure that acts primarily to protect the brain from chemicals in the blood, while still allowing essential metabolic function. ... The endothelium is the layer of thin, flat cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. ... Glutamate transporters exist in the membranes of neurons and glial cells to remove excess amounts of the amino acid neurotransmitters glutamate and aspartate from the synapse. ... Glutamate is the anion of glutamic acid. ... Gaba may refer to: Gabâ or gabaa (Philippines), the concept of negative karma of the Cebuano people GABA, the gamma-amino-butyric acid neurotransmitter GABA receptor, in biology, receptors with GABA as their endogenous ligand Gaba 1 to 1, an English conversational school in Japan Marianne Gaba, a US model... Adenosine 5-triphosphate (ATP) is a multifunctional nucleotide that is most important as a molecular currency of intracellular energy transfer. ... In cell biology, potassium channels are the most common type of ion channel. ... The Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz voltage equation, more commonly known as the Goldman equation is used in cell membrane physiology to determine the potential across a cells membrane taking into account all of the ions that are permeant through that membrane. ... The supraoptic nucleus (SON) is a nucleus of magnocellular neurosecretory cells in the hypothalamus of the mammalian brain. ... The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland (hypophysis). ... Oligodendrocytes (from Greek literally meaning few tree cells), or oligodendroglia (Greek, few tree glue),[1] are a variety of neuroglia. ...


Other research is uncovering key molecules that aid the communication. Several studies indicate that following the rise of calcium, astrocytes release the amino acid glutamate, which helps them talk to the neurons. The communication flows both ways, with neurons also being able to talk to the astrocytes through their own glutamate release. Signaling molecules, such as ATP and prostaglandins, also appear to promote the cell-to-cell communication, according to other new investigations.


Determining why the astrocyte chatting occurs and whether it actually affects the neurons' ability to process information, is another area of research. Early studies hint that some of the chatting may aid memory. Adding glutamate to cell samples of astrocytes prompts them to produce special molecules that nourish neurons, known as trophic factors. Other research has found that these molecules are key to memory function. In one recent study, injections of trophic factors into the brains of rats boosted the biological mechanisms known to relate to memory and improved the rats' performance in a memory task. This all may mean that glutamate release from neurons triggers astrocytes to produce trophic factors, which then help neurons process information for memory. Scientists currently are testing this theory.


Together the research is not only making researchers rethink how the brain operates, but also how to treat it when it malfunctions. For one, if the research on astrocytes' connection to memory pans out, then the cells may make good targets for treatment of memory disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Astrocytes' relationship to glutamate also may make them good targets for clinical intervention since several brain disorders have been tied to glutamate problems. For example, some scientists believe that when the brain is infected by the AlDS-causing HIV virus or deprived of oxygen from lack of blood flow due to a stroke, a release of excess glutamate causes neurons to die. Agents that target astrocytes might help limit the glutamate overflow and prevent the cell death.


Furthermore, studies are underway to determine whether astroglia play an instrumental role in depression, based on the link between diabetes and depression. Altered CNS glucose metabolism is seen in both these conditions, and the astroglial cells are the only cells with insulin receptors in the brain.


Calcium waves

Astrocytes are linked by gap junctions, creating an electrically coupled syncytium.[4] A gap junction is a junction between certain animal/plant cell-types that allows different molecules and ions to pass freely between cells. ... In biology, a syncytium is a large region of cytoplasm that contains many nuclei. ...


An increase in intracellular calcium concentration can propagate outwards through this syncytium. Mechanisms of calcium wave propagation include diffusion of IP3 through gap junctions and extracellular ATP signalling.[5] Calcium elevations are the primary known axis of activation in astrocytes, and are necessary and sufficient for some types of astrocytic glutamate release.[6] IP3 can refer to the following: Inositol triphosphate (biochemistry) Third-order_intercept_point (radiocommunication) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

Immuncytochemistry staining of astrocytes (green) and neurons (red). Nuclei are colored blue.

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1388 × 1040 pixels, file size: 258 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1388 × 1040 pixels, file size: 258 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ...

Classification

There are several different ways to classify astrocytes:


by Lineage and antigenic phenotype

These have been established by classic work by Raff et al in early 1980s on Rat optic nerves.

  • Type 1: Antigenically Ran2+, GFAP+, FGFR3+, A2B5- thus resembling the "type 1 astrocyte" of the postnatal day 7 rat optic nerve. These can arise from the tripotential glial restricted precursor cells (GRP), but not from the bipotential O2A/OPC (oligodendrocyte, type 2 astrocyte precursor, also called Oligodendrocye progenitor cell) cells.
  • Type 2: Antigenically A2B5+, GFAP+, FGFR3-, Ran 2-. These cells can develop in vitro from the either tripotential GRP (probably via O2A stage) or from bipotential O2A cells (which some people think may in turn have been derived from the GRP) or in vivo when the these progenitor cells are transplanted into lesion sites (but probably not in normal development, at least not in the rat optic nerve). Type-2 astrocytes are the major astrocytic component in postnatal optic nerve cultures that are generated by O2A cells grown in the presence of fetal calf serum but are not thought to exist in vivo (Fulton et al., 1992).

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells in nervous tissue cells precede oligodendrocytes, and may also be able to generate neurons and astrocytes. ...

by Location

  • Type I: Those astrocytes are in direct contact with blood capillaries through astrocytique pod. They are actively helping neuronal metabolism and glucose delivery.
  • Type II: Type II astrocytes surrounds neurons and synaptic gap. This coverage varies from 1 to 100%.

by Anatomical Classification

  • Protoplasmic: found in grey matter and have many branching processes whose end-feet envelop synapses. Some protoplasmic astrocytes are generated by multipotent subventricular zone progenitor cells (Levison and Goldman, 1993; Zerlin et al., 1995).
  • Fibrous: found in white matter and have long thin unbranched processes whose end-feet envelop nodes of Ranvier[7]and also they play an important on humans brain. Some fibrous astrocytes are generated by radial glia (Choi and Lapham, 1978; Schmechel and Rakic, 1979; Misson et al., 1988; Voigt, 1989; Goldman, 1996

Gray matter redirects here. ... Synapses allow nerve cells to communicate with one another through axons and dendrites, converting electrical signals into chemical ones. ... White matter is one of the two main solid components of the central nervous system. ... This article is about anatomy; for the musical group see Nodes of Ranvier (band) Nodes of Ranvier are regularly spaced gaps in the myelin sheath around an axon or nerve fiber. ...

by Transporter/receptor classification

Glutamate transporters exist in the membranes of neurons and glial cells to remove excess amounts of the amino acid neurotransmitters glutamate and aspartate from the synapse. ... Glutamate is a neurotransmitter in nerve cells which binds to all glutamate receptors located on neuron membranes, and is an example of a transmembrane receptor. ... Metabotropic glutamate receptors, or mGluRs, are a type of glutamate receptor which are active through an indirect metabotropic process. ... AMPA Glutamic acid The α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4- propionic acid receptor (also known as AMPA receptor, AMPAR, or quisqualate receptor) is a non-NMDA-type ionotropic transmembrane receptor for glutamate that mediates fast synaptic transmission in the central nervous system (CNS). ... Inositol triphosphate or inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (also commonly known as triphosphoinositol; abbreviated InsP3 or IP3), together with diacylglycerol, is a second messenger molecule used in signal transduction in biological cells. ...

Bergmann glia

Bergmann glia, a type of glia[8][9] also known as radial epithelial cells (as named by Camillo Golgi), are astrocytes in the cerebellum that have their cell bodies in the Purkinje cell layer and processes that extend into the molecular layer, terminating with bulbous endfeet at the pial surface. Bergmann glia express high densities of glutamate transporters that limit diffusion of the neurotransmitter glutamate during its release from synaptic terminals. Besides their role in early development of the cerebellum, Bergmann glia are also required for the pruning or addition of synapses. Camillo Golgi, 1906. ... The cerebellum (Latin: little brain) is a region of the brain that plays an important role in the integration of sensory perception and motor output. ... The cell body or soma is a structure in a neuron consisting of the main part of the cell and containing the nucleus. ... Drawing of pigeon Purkinje cells (A) by Santiago Ramon y Cajal Purkinje cells are a class of GABAergic neuron located in the cerebellar cortex. ... [www. ... Glutamate transporters exist in the membranes of neurons and glial cells to remove excess amounts of the amino acid neurotransmitters glutamate and aspartate from the synapse. ... Chemical structure of D-aspartic acid, a common amino acid neurotransmitter. ... Glutamate is the anion of glutamic acid. ... Illustration of the major elements in a prototypical synapse. ...


Pathology

Astrocytomas are primary intracranial tumors derived from astrocytes cells of the brain. Astrocytomas are primary intracranial tumors derived from astrocytes cells of the brain. ... For malignant tumors specifically, see cancer. ...


References

  1. ^ Piet R, Vargová L, Syková E, Poulain D, Oliet S (2004). "Physiological contribution of the astrocytic environment of neurons to intersynaptic crosstalk.". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101 (7): 2151-5. PMID 14766975. 
  2. ^ Parri R, Crunelli V (2003). "An astrocyte bridge from synapse to blood flow.". Nat Neurosci 6 (1): 5-6. PMID 12494240. 
  3. ^ Ishibashi T, Dakin K, Stevens B, Lee P, Kozlov S, Stewart C, Fields R (2006). "Astrocytes promote myelination in response to electrical impulses.". Neuron 49 (6): 823-32. PMID 16543131. 
  4. ^ Bennett M, Contreras J, Bukauskas F, Sáez J (2003). "New roles for astrocytes: gap junction hemichannels have something to communicate.". Trends Neurosci 26 (11): 610-7. PMID 14585601. 
  5. ^ Newman, J Neurosci. 2001 Apr 1;21(7):2215-23
  6. ^ Parpura V, Haydon P (2000). "Physiological astrocytic calcium levels stimulate glutamate release to modulate adjacent neurons.". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 97 (15): 8629-34. PMID 10900020. 
  7. ^ Anatomy at MUN nerve/neuron
  8. ^ Riquelme R, Miralles C, De Blas A (2002). "Bergmann glia GABA(A) receptors concentrate on the glial processes that wrap inhibitory synapses". J. Neurosci. 22 (24): 10720-30. PMID 12486165. 
  9. ^ Yamada K, Watanabe M (2002). "Cytodifferentiation of Bergmann glia and its relationship with Purkinje cells". Anatomical science international / Japanese Association of Anatomists 77 (2): 94-108. PMID 12418089. 

Memorial University of Newfoundland, (popularly known as Memorial University or MUN) is a comprehensive university located primarily in St. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Astrocyte - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (445 words)
Astrocytes, also known as astroglia, are characteristic star-shaped glial cells in the brain.
Astrocytes are sub-type of the glial cells in the brain.
Astrocytes are classically identified histologically by their expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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