Discovery of Hybrid Brain Cells Sheds Light on Memory, Movement, and Epilepsy
A recent study from the University of Lausanne and the Wyss Center has identified a new type of brain cell that plays a crucial role in memory, movement control, and epilepsy. This newly discovered cell type is a hybrid between neurons and glial cells, and its presence has been confirmed in both mice and humans.
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The discovery of this new type of brain cell opens up new avenues for understanding and potentially treating neurological conditions. The cells, named “glutamatergic astrocytes,” not only play a role in memory and movement but also have implications for conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. This could lead to the development of targeted therapies that could offer significant improvements in patient outcomes.
- Researchers identified a new type of brain cell that is a hybrid between neurons and glial cells, named “glutamatergic astrocytes.”
- These cells are present in several brain regions in both mice and humans.
- The cells have the ability to release glutamate rapidly, influencing synaptic transmission and regulating neuronal circuits.
- The discovery could resolve years of scientific debate about the role of astrocytes in synaptic transmission.
- Physicians’ Perspective: The discovery of these hybrid cells could offer new therapeutic targets for conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
“In between neurons and astrocytes, we now have a new kind of cell at hand. Its discovery opens up immense research prospects.”
– Andrea Volterra, Honorary Professor at UNIL and Visiting Faculty at the Wyss Center; Co-director of the study
- The study used advanced imaging techniques and single-cell transcriptomics to identify the new cell type.
- Disrupting these glutamatergic astrocytes had effects on memory consolidation and exacerbated epileptic seizures.
- The research team plans to explore the potential protective role of these cells against memory impairment in Alzheimer’s disease.
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