2010 IoN News Archive
- Professor Alan Thompson elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology
- Michael J. Fox Foundation awards IoN researcher grant to advance Parkinson's research.
- Traces of the past: computer algorithm ‘reads’ memories
- Professor Lees awarded first Lord Brain Memorial Lecture
- Award for Professor Chris Frith
- Professor John Duncan appointed as NIHR Senior Investigator
- Queen Square Symposium success
- IoN brings the scientific method to London primary schools
- Robot trainer to benefit stroke patients
- Researchers to study how the brain 'rewires itself'
- St Peter's Medal for Professor Clare Fowler
- Elections to the Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowships announced
- New website to help stroke survivors learn to read again
- Queen's Birthday Honours
- Brain study reveals that agreement is rewarding
- Wellcome Success
- Win for IoN at Shape of Science Symposium
- Research shows that two heads are better than one
- Lizard venom offers hope for Parkinson’s disease patients
- Epilepsy prizes
- Developing a cell library resource for dementia research
- Stents may double the risk of stroke in patients over 70
- Scientists identify link between introspection and brain structure
- IoN scientist lands £329k funding boost from dementia research charity.
- Study results consistent with earlier estimates of vCJD prion prevalence in Britain
- Parkinson's UK Fellowship Award
- Award for Professor Lees
- 2010-11 IoN PhD Studentship Round Now Open
- New brain imaging tests to track Huntington’s
- World-leading scientist secures funding for gene research
- Fighter pilots' brains are ‘more sensitive
- Alzheimer’s changes detectable in healthy elderly
- IoN Student wins Santander Formula One Scholarship
- New hope for cluster headache sufferers
- Prestigious European research grant awarded
- New centre brings hope to patients with muscle wasting diseases
- Prestigious stroke program grant awarded
- A role for astrocytes in learning and memory?
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A role for astrocytes in learning and memory?
13 January 2010
New research published today in the prestigious journal Nature sheds further light on how memories are formed in the brain.
Memories are formed through changes in the strength of individual synaptic connections between nerve cells. However, a large proportion of brain cells belong to glia which, unlike nerve cells, do not make synapses, are not electrically active and until recently have been associated with exclusively supporting roles.
Researchers from the Institute Department of Clinical & Experimental Epilepsy (in collaboration with colleagues in INSERM U 862 at the University of Bordeaux) have found that individual star-shaped glial cells called astrocytes release a specific signalling molecule, called D-serine, which is essential for triggering the memory trace machinery in active synapses nearby.
Astrocytes, once thought little more than passive, structurally supportive brain cells, are increasingly recognized as having a range of important properties and functions, such as the ability to release chemical messengers and signal to other cells. This study helps to add another potential function to that list.
Dmitri Rusakov, who led the research at the Institute said: “This finding establishes a previously unknown role of glia in basic functions of the human brain identifying a yet unexplored target area for therapeutic intervention.”
Reference >> Christian Henneberger, Thomas Papouin, Stéphane H. R. Oliet and Dmitri A. Rusakov (2010) Long-term potentiation depends on release of D-serine from astrocytes. Nature ( doi:10.1038/nature08673).
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