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The "Neuro-Glial-Vascular" Unit: The Role of Glia in Neurovascular Unit Formation and Dysfunction

Kugler, EC; Greenwood, J; MacDonald, RB; (2021) The "Neuro-Glial-Vascular" Unit: The Role of Glia in Neurovascular Unit Formation and Dysfunction. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology , 9 , Article 732820. 10.3389/fcell.2021.732820. Green open access

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Abstract

The neurovascular unit (NVU) is a complex multi-cellular structure consisting of endothelial cells (ECs), neurons, glia, smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and pericytes. Each component is closely linked to each other, establishing a structural and functional unit, regulating central nervous system (CNS) blood flow and energy metabolism as well as forming the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and inner blood-retina barrier (BRB). As the name suggests, the "neuro" and "vascular" components of the NVU are well recognized and neurovascular coupling is the key function of the NVU. However, the NVU consists of multiple cell types and its functionality goes beyond the resulting neurovascular coupling, with cross-component links of signaling, metabolism, and homeostasis. Within the NVU, glia cells have gained increased attention and it is increasingly clear that they fulfill various multi-level functions in the NVU. Glial dysfunctions were shown to precede neuronal and vascular pathologies suggesting central roles for glia in NVU functionality and pathogenesis of disease. In this review, we take a "glio-centric" view on NVU development and function in the retina and brain, how these change in disease, and how advancing experimental techniques will help us address unanswered questions.

Type: Article
Title: The "Neuro-Glial-Vascular" Unit: The Role of Glia in Neurovascular Unit Formation and Dysfunction
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2021.732820
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.732820
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 Kugler, Greenwood and MacDonald. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Müller glia, astrocytes, brain, neurovascular unit, retina
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136753
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