Type of glial cell does more than feed and care for nerve cells
GerryShaw/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
A type of brain cell formerly known for its supporting role has landed a glamorous new job. Astrocytes, a type of glial cell known to feed, clean and guide the growth of their flashier nerve cell neighbors, also help nerve cells send electrical transmissions, scientists report in the Aug. 5 Journal of Neuroscience.
The results are the latest in scientists’ efforts to uncover the mysterious and important ways in which cells other than nerve cells keep the nervous system humming.
Astrocytes deliver nutrients to nerve cells, flush waste out of the brain (SN: 9/22/12) and even help control appetite (SN: 6/28/14). The latest study suggests that these star-shaped cells also help electrical messages move along