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Cell Death Differ. 2007 Jul;14(7):1324-35. Epub 2007 Apr 13.

Glia: the fulcrum of brain diseases.

Author information

1
INSERM, U840 and Coll├Ęge de France, Paris, France.

Abstract

Neuroglia represented by astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglial cells provide for numerous vital functions. Glial cells shape the micro-architecture of the brain matter; they are involved in information transfer by virtue of numerous plasmalemmal receptors and channels; they receive synaptic inputs; they are able to release 'glio'transmitters and produce long-range information exchange; finally they act as pluripotent neural precursors and some of them can even act as stem cells, which provide for adult neurogenesis. Recent advances in gliology emphasised the role of glia in the progression and handling of the insults to the nervous system. The brain pathology, is, to a very great extent, a pathology of glia, which, when falling to function properly, determines the degree of neuronal death, the outcome and the scale of neurological deficit. Glial cells are central in providing for brain homeostasis. As a result glia appears as a brain warden, and as such it is intrinsically endowed with two opposite features: it protects the nervous tissue as long as it can, but it also can rapidly assume the guise of a natural killer, trying to eliminate and seal the damaged area, to save the whole at the expense of the part.

PMID:
17431421
DOI:
10.1038/sj.cdd.4402144
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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