Astrocytes Control the Generation of New Neurons from Neural Stem Cells
Astrocytes are cells that have many functions in the central nervous system, such as the control of neuronal synapses, blood flow, and the brain's response to neurotrauma or stroke
Reduces Brain Tissue Damage
Together with collaborators, Milos Pekny of the University of Gothenburg (Germany), has previousy demonstrated that astrocytes reduce brain tissue damage after stroke; also, that the integration of transplanted neural stem cells can be largely improved by modulating the activity of astrocytes.
Generation of New Neurons
In this current study, the Sahlgrenska Academy researchers show how astrocytes control the generation of new neurons in the brain. An important contribution to this project came from Åbo Academy, one of Sahlgrenska's traditional collaborative partners.
"In the brain, astrocytes control how many new
neurons are formed from neural stem cells and survive to
integrate into the existing neuronal networks.
Astrocytes do this by secreting specific molecules but also by much less understood direct cell-cell interactions with stem cells,"
Prof. Milos Pekny
Prof. Milos Pekny: "Astrocytes are in physical contact with neural stem cells and we have shown that they signal through the Notch pathway to stem cells to keep the birth rate of new neurons low.
We have also shown that the intermediate filament system of astrocytes is an important regulator of this process. It seems that astrocyte intermediate filaments can be used as a target to increase the birthrate of new neurons."
"We are starting to understand some of the cellular and
molecular mechanisms behind the control of neurogenesis.
Neurogenesis is one of the components of brain plasticity,
which plays a role in the learning process as well as
in the recovery after brain injury or stroke.
This work helps us to understand how plasticity
and regenerative response can be
therapeutically promoted in the future."
Prof. Milos Pekny
The article "Astrocytes Negatively Regulate Neurogenesis through the Jagged1-Mediated Notch Pathway" is published in Stem Cells.
Homepage of the laboratory: http://www.neurophys.gu.se/pekny
Original article: http://www.sahlgrenska.gu.se/english/news_and_events/news/