Astrocyte Electrical Activity Changes How Neurons Function

A previously unknown function of astrocytes brings a new approach for neuroscience researchers that could ultimately lead to treatments for disorders like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and traumatic brain injury, scientists report. Astrocytes are glial cells in the brain that communicate with neuronal synapses, cleaning up glutamate and potassium from the extracellular space after neuron activity. The…

Epileptic Seizures Reinforced By Activity-dependent Myelination

Epilepsy seizures increase insulation of nerve fibers involved in seizing, leading the brain to have seizures more efficiently, a new study1 from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found. I was surprised by what we saw. Initially, I thought that because this is a disease process, we would see deficient myelination somehow. What we’re…

The Claustrum May Be Linked To Perception Of Pain

A poorly understood area of the brain called the claustrum could play an important role in how we experience pain, a new review paper shows. Researchers looked at studies of patients having lesions in the claustrum – such cases are rare, and feature cognitive impairments and seizures. A lack of clinical focus on the claustrum…

SenP5 Helps Regulate Mitochondrial Dynamics In Brain Development

Mitochondrial dynamics are mainly regulated by dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). The molecular mechanisms that affect the functioning of Drp1 influence brain development. But little has been known on how exactly this happens. A recent study1 describes a newly discovered protein in the brain that helps regulate Drp1 and thus, brain function. The finding offers new…

Microglial TREM2 Has Protective Role In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Microglia play a protective role in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to new preclinical studies from Mayo Clinic scientists and collaborators1. The finding could provide a potential therapeutic target for the disease. The loss of neurons characterizes the neurodegenerative diseases of Alzheimer’s and ALS. In Alzheimer’s, the lost neurons handle memory…

Hippocampal Astrocytes Help Regulate Cognitive Flexibility Via NMDA Receptor Tone

The ability of astrocytes to simultaneously regulate and integrate synaptic plasticity of nearby synapses is important for facilitating cognitive flexibility, researchers in South Korea report. It is thought that lower cognitive flexibility in brain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and early stages of Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the reduced function of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs).…

Anti-inflammatory Exercise Factors That Are Transferrable Benefit The Brain

Blood taken from young adult mice that get lots of exercise benefits the brains of same-aged, sedentary mice, new research1 shows. A single protein called clusterin in the blood of exercising mice seems mainly responsible for the effect. The finding could open the door to treatments that lower risk of neurodegenerative disease or slow its…

What Are Ranvier Nodes

Nodes of Ranvier are myelin sheath gaps. They appear along a myelinated axon where the axolemma is exposed to the extracellular space. Nodes of Ranvier are uninsulated and highly enriched in ion channels, allowing them to participate in the exchange of ions required to regenerate the action potential. Nerve conduction in myelinated axons is referred…