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Functional Interactions between Neurons and Glial Cells

  • Leif Hertz
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 33)

Abstract

The fluid composition within the interstitial space in the central nervous system (CNS) is regulated partly by transport between neural cells and microvessels and partly by release and uptake in different types of neural cells. Interactions between neurons and glial cells (mainly astrocytes and oligodendrocytes) seem to play a major role in this respect. In most species glial cells outnumber neurons. Astrocytes contribute about 1/3 of the brain cortex volume in man, and oligodendrocytes another 1/5 (Pope, 1978). The involvement of oligodendrocytes in myelination is well established, but these cells may also have other functions, and the roles of astrocytes are still controversial. Astrocytes occupy strategically important sites in the CNS: cortical astrocytes form astrocytic endfeet around capillaries, surround synapses (Wolff, 1970), and form sheets between neurons (Palay and Chan-Palay, 1974), and white matter astrocytes participate in the formation of the node of Ranvier (Black and Waxman, 1988). The surface/volume ratio is extremely large (Wolff, 1970), making these cells particularly well suited for regulation of the extracellular milieu. The close anatomical contact with endothelial cells suggest on one hand that transport between astrocytes and capillaries, at least under some conditions might be important in the overall exchange between CNS and the vascular system; on the other hand it also provides the possibility that compounds released from astrocytes may exert a direct regulatory function on vessels.

Keywords

GABAergic Neuron Potassium Uptake Glutamatergic Neuron Astrocytic Endfeet Extracellular Potassium Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leif Hertz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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