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Nat Neurosci DOI:10.1038/nn.4142

Do glia drive synaptic and cognitive impairment in disease?

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsChung, W-S, Welsh, CA, Barres, BA, Stevens, B
JournalNat Neurosci
Date Published2015 Nov
KeywordsAnimals, Astrocytes, Cognition Disorders, Humans, Neuroglia, Neuronal Plasticity, Neurons, Synaptic Transmission

Synaptic dysfunction is a hallmark of many neurodegenerative and psychiatric brain disorders, yet we know little about the mechanisms that underlie synaptic vulnerability. Although neuroinflammation and reactive gliosis are prominent in virtually every CNS disease, glia are largely viewed as passive responders to neuronal damage rather than drivers of synaptic dysfunction. This perspective is changing with the growing realization that glia actively signal with neurons and influence synaptic development, transmission and plasticity through an array of secreted and contact-dependent signals. We propose that disruptions in neuron-glia signaling contribute to synaptic and cognitive impairment in disease. Illuminating the mechanisms by which glia influence synapse function may lead to the development of new therapies and biomarkers for synaptic dysfunction.


Alternate JournalNat. Neurosci.
PubMed ID26505565
PubMed Central IDPMC4739631
Grant ListR01 NS071008 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG000222 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States