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Morphological plasticity of astroglia: Understanding synaptic microenvironment

Heller, JP; Rusakov, DA; (2015) Morphological plasticity of astroglia: Understanding synaptic microenvironment. Glia , 63 (12) pp. 2133-2151. 10.1002/glia.22821. Green open access

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Abstract

Memory formation in the brain is thought to rely on the remodeling of synaptic connections which eventually results in neural network rewiring. This remodeling is likely to involve ultrathin astroglial protrusions which often occur in the immediate vicinity of excitatory synapses. The phenomenology, cellular mechanisms, and causal relationships of such astroglial restructuring remain, however, poorly understood. This is in large part because monitoring and probing of the underpinning molecular machinery on the scale of nanoscopic astroglial compartments remains a challenge. Here we briefly summarize the current knowledge regarding the cellular organisation of astroglia in the synaptic microenvironment and discuss molecular mechanisms potentially involved in use-dependent astroglial morphogenesis. We also discuss recent observations concerning morphological astroglial plasticity, the respective monitoring methods, and some of the newly emerging techniques that might help with conceptual advances in the area. GLIA 2015.

Type: Article
Title: Morphological plasticity of astroglia: Understanding synaptic microenvironment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/glia.22821
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/glia.22821
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 The Authors. Glia Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: perisynaptic astrocytic processes, super-resolution microscopy,  astrocyte plasticity
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 > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1464295
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