CB 399: Glia: More than Nerve Glue Fall 2009

Intellectual Unit:

Glia: More than Nerve Glue

Course Lecturers: Azad Bonni, Gabriel Corfas and Beth Stevens

Curriculum Fellow: Dr. Johanna Gutlerner

Glia are non-neuronal cells that populate both the central and peripheral nervous systems. For more than a century since their discovery, glial cells were considered to act as the connective tissue for the nervous system. However, recent studies have made clear that glial cells not only support a number of essential neuronal functions, but also actively communicate with neurons and with one another to influence nervous system functions that have long been thought to be strictly under neuronal control. Glial cells, which include astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells, radial glial, schwann cells and satellite cells, outnumber neurons by 10 to 1. These cells are critical to many aspects of nervous system development, including neuronal migration, maturation, nutrition, myelination and survival. Glia are also relevant for human health as their dysfunction causes neurological diseases and when their proliferative behavior is altered they can give rise to very aggressive and fatal tumors. Moreover, the observation that some glial cells act as neural precursors in the adult brain and also regulate the formation and plasticity of synapses make these cells important to regenerative medicine.

First Meeting: Thursday, November 12th, 1-4:30pm

Location: Goldenson 122

Second Meeting: Thursday, November 19th, 2-4:30 pm

Location: TMEC Bldg., Room 447

Recommended Readings

Instructions and Course Documents