Publication date: Mar 18, 2020
However, scientists are now increasingly recognizing the pivotal role glial cells play in brain function and development.
Glial cells are smaller than neurons but are greater in number than nerve cells in the brain.
The important CNS glial cells are astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes, radial glial cells, and ependymal cells.
The radial glial progenitor cells are multipurpose cells involved in many areas of brain developments and are precursor cells for generating oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and neurons.
A number of research studies are ongoing to understand the role of glial cells in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.
Studies on transgenic mice that express a mutant gene associated with one of the diseases have demonstrated that glial cells play a pivotal role in disease pathogenesis.
A study by Pochard et al. explored the role of enteric glial cells in inflammatory bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
However, further research is ongoing to characterize the role of enteric glial cells in gut dysfunction.
For example, in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorders, glial cells such as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia are affected.
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