News of the WeekNeuroscience

Glia Tell Neurons to Build Synapses

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Science  26 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5504, pp. 569-570
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5504.569A

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Although glia account for 90% of the cells in the adult human brain, they've been written off as simple scaffolding that supports neurons, as sources of nutrition, or as a waste-disposal mechanism for sopping up extra ions and neurotransmitter molecules. But a new study on page 657 shows that glia play a more important role in neuron-to-neuron communication: They tell neurons to start talking to one another.