Using β3 integrin to control reactive astrocytes, and help neurons survive

brain scan from a rat

The long-ignored astrocyte is of more interest than ever in neuroscience. When the central nervous system is damaged, astrocytes undergo astrogliosis, morphing into reactive astrocytes to protect neurons from further damage. But, as it turns out, this process could be doing more harm than good by not allowing damaged neurons to mend themselves. Professor Lisette Leyton of the University of […]

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Cryo-electron tomography and synaptic transmission in the brain

The transfer of information between neurons in the brain occurs via a carefully regulated release of chemical neurotransmitters.

The transmission of information between brain cells is regulated by complex loops of biochemical processes. Neurotransmitter molecules are released in the intercellular space by an electrically stimulated neuron and bind to receptors in a different neuron, thus establishing a connection between these cells. By combining cryo-electron microscopy and tomography of vitrified brain samples, Dr Vladan Lučić at Max Planck Institute […]

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