Astrocytes in the hippocampus may send signals that promote memories of trauma
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Helper cells in the brain just got tagged with a new job — forming traumatic memories.
When rats experience trauma, cells in the hippocampus — an area important for learning — produce signals for inflammation, helping to create a potent memory. But most of those signals aren’t coming from the nerve cells, researchers reported November 15 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.
Instead, more than 90 percent of a key inflammation protein comes from astrocytes. This role in memory formation adds to the repertoire of these starburst-shaped cells, once believed to be responsible for only providing food and support to more important brain cells (SN Online: 8/4/15).
The work could provide new insight into how the brain