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Astrocytes and Astroglia

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Biological Sciences

Outline of Lecture 08 (02-20 B; Bergles) Astrocytes and Astroglia See also Lecture 15 (02-21 B; Griffin) – Myeliation, p. 7 for nice review 0. There are three types of glial cells 1) Astrocytes: support neurons, influence/regulate neuronal activity 2) Oligodendrocytes: form myelin sheaths (speeds action potential along axon) 3) Microglial: respond to injury and infection I. Astrocytes play a supportive role for neurons - Remove ions and neurotransmitters from extracellular space - Some processes ensheath synapses and have Glu transporters to remove Glu from extracellular space (which is toxic to neurons) - Potassium buffering hypothesis: astroctyes prevent accumulation of K in extracellular space (see physiology below) - Provide neurons with energy - Contain glycogen granules, perhaps to provide glucose or lactate to neurons - Ca waves in astrocytes may stimulate arteriole dilation and control brain microcirculation - Respond to neuronal activity or directly influence it - Express ion channels and nxt receptors, activated upon “spillout” - Glu stimulates intracellular Ca oscillations, propagated as waves, and may excite nearby neurons - Secrete growth factors and guide neuronal migration - Enhance formation of synapses
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