Astrocytes help speed up brain’s messages | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News in Brief

Astrocytes help speed up brain’s messages

Type of glial cell does more than feed and care for nerve cells

By
5:00pm, August 4, 2015
astrocytes

HELPING HAND  Nearby astrocytes help move electrical signals along nerve cells, a new study reveals. 

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

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content