Navigation Links
Astrocytes and synaptic plasticity
Date:10/12/2008

By mopping up excess neurotrophic factor from neuronal synapses, astrocytes may finely tune synaptic transmission to affect processes such as learning and memory, say Bergami et al.

The major cellular events of learning and memory are long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), both of which affect neurons' ability to communicate with one another. Neurons that have undergone LTP display a stronger electrical response to the same level of a stimulus, whereas neurons that have gone through LTD display a weaker response. These changes are thought to result from modifications of the neuronal synapses, such as alterations in the density of postsynaptic receptors, or downstream signaling events.

Secretion of the neurotrophic factor BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) has been implicated in long-term synaptic modification, and the function of BDNF on synaptic strength depends on its particular form: in its pro-BDNF form it is believed to promote LTD, and in its mature form it prompts LTP. Neurons were thought to secrete pro-BDNF, which then matured into BDNF in the synaptic space. However, a recent study suggests that only mature BDNF is secreted, pro-BDNF being processed intracellularly.

To get to the bottom of things, Bergami et al. investigated the fate of both forms after LTP induction in brain slices from the rat cortex. By fluorescent immunohistochemistry they showed that that neurons indeed secrete both mature and pro-BDNF, but that a large amount of the pro-BDNF is immediately taken up by astrocytes.

Astrocytes, previously thought to be unimportant in neuronal transmission, have recently been implicated in long-term modulation of neuronal synapses. For example, they release the neurotransmitter glutamate into the synapse prompting LTP. By specifically mopping up pro-BDNF, astrocytes seem to have another means to assist in LTP. However, while it's likely that most pro-BDNF gets degraded inside astrocytes, say the authors, some gets recycled and re-released, suggesting that astrocytes in fact fine-tune synaptic plasticity.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sati Motieram
motierd@mail.rockefeller.edu
212-327-8581
Rockefeller University Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Synaptics to Report First Quarter Results on October 23
2. Synaptics SecurePad(TM) Selected as CES Innovations 2008 Design and Engineering Award Honoree
3. Reproductive plasticity revealed: Neotropical treefrog can choose to lay eggs in water or on land
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient ... organizations, and MD EMR Systems , an ... partner for GE, have established a partnership to ... product and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity ... These new integrations will allow ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... 2017 Janice Kephart , former ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the ... Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting ... can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the ... refugee applications are suspended by until at least ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and ... the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration ... Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at ... the Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze ... pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The ... context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The ... transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Alto, CA, USA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... set to take place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. ... policy influencers as well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider ... nationwide oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch ... for communication among health care professionals to enhance the patient ... office staff, and other health care professionals to help women ... cancer. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: