james anthony holzwarth holz at
Tue Jan 17 06:12:38 EST 1995

In article <3f5uis$4o at> cc3265 at albnyvms.bitnet writes:
>In article <3f2ajg$8q4 at>, jsandair at (Johnny Sandaire) writes:
>>In article <3edr24$opq at>, 
>>un691cs at says...
>>>i need some info. Do astrocytes express any of the following substances ?
>>>Or could you point me towards a review which additional info ?
>>>some of these factors are neurotransmitters, so this makes me wonder:
>>>vip, tph,somatostatin, subst. P, cck,neuropept. Y, CGRP, LIF,
>>>thanks in advance,
>>>clemens, heidelberg
>>   Generally, only nerve cells (neurons) are involve in nerotransmitter 
>>secretion-signalling.  Signalling is the function of neurons.  Astrocytes 
>>are involve in many other functions-mostly in the maintenance of the blood 
>>brain barrier.  It has been postulated that astrocytes are involve in the 
>>policing of excess K+ ions due to the constant firing of brain neurons.  The 
>>permeability of astrocytes allows for uptake of Cl- ions thereby maintaining 
>>electrical neutrality.  Astrocytes are considered as the third major class 
>>of glial cell, which are the most numourous, and at the same time the most 
>Actually, I remember reading fairly recently (don't you hate when you can't
>remember a citation!) about some new research done on glia cells, again I
>forget which type, that suggested that some of them at least might be
>communicating to neurons.  I think it was an issue of Science, maybe two,
>maybe three months back.  Sorry, I know this isn't much help -- might try
>checking abstracts at the library.  However, I do remember the article and
>being fascinated with it at the time. (Unfortunately, grad school forces the
>really interesting things out of one's head, in pursuit of what someone else
>considers interesting!)
>>  C.R. Cooper
>   Dept. of Anthropology
>   SUNY at Albany
 Actually, a short medline search provided these references
reporting immunoreactivity in astrocytes for some of these

Brain Research 624: 75-84 (1993)
Acta Histochemica 94:1-12 (1993)
Annals of the New York academy of Science 679: 226-234 (1993)
Developmental Brain Research 67: 205-210 (1992)
Molecular and Chemical Neuropathy 20: 1-20 (1993)
and a review
Medical Hypotheses 37: 40-43 (1992)

I also read the Science paper (don't have the reference, my stuff
is in transit from Chicago [I am now at a different place without
a news reader, the reason for logging-in to chicago to read
news]). I think the gist of the paper was that glial cells
(astrocytes, here) could release glutamate with Bradykinin
stimulation, and this stimulated the surrounding neurons.
Of course, other neurotransmitters have been reported to be
released from astrocytes. But this does not seem to be a
rapid communication thing.


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