The role of glial cells in synapse elimination

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Excessive synapses generated during early development are eliminated extensively to form functionally mature neural circuits. Synapses in juvenile and mature brains are highly dynamic, and undergo remodeling processes through constant formation and elimination of dendritic spines. Although neural activity has been implicated in initiating the synapse elimination process cell-autonomously, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that transduce changes in correlated neural activity into structural changes in synapses are largely unknown. Recently, however, new findings provide evidence that in different species, glial cells, non-neuronal cell types in the nervous system are crucial in eliminating neural debris and unwanted synapses through phagocytosis. Glial cells not only clear fragmented axons and synaptic debris produced during synapse elimination, but also engulf unwanted synapses thereby actively promoting synapse elimination non-cell autonomously. These new findings support the important role of glial cells in the formation and maintenance of functional neural circuits in development as well as in adult stages and neurodegenerative diseases.
Publisher
CURRENT BIOLOGY LTD
Issue Date
2012-06
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

DEVELOPING VISUAL-SYSTEM; IN-VIVO; RETINOGENICULATE SYNAPSE; MICROGLIAL CELLS; APOPTOTIC CELLS; TYROSINE KINASE; ADULT CORTEX; MOUSE MODEL; PLASTICITY; ASTROCYTES

Citation

CURRENT OPINION IN NEUROBIOLOGY, v.22, no.3, pp.438 - 445

ISSN
0959-4388
DOI
10.1016/j.conb.2011.10.003
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/206027
Appears in Collection
BS-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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