KAIST 생명과학과동창회
  • News & Events
  • News

News

Astrocytes eat connections to maintain plasticity in adult brains

 

by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) 

  

 

    Astrocytes eat connections to maintain plasticity in adult brains

A 3-D image showing our synapse phagocytosis reporter in mouse hippocampus

 

Developing brains constantly sprout new neuronal connections called synapses as they learn and remember. Important connectionsthe ones that are repeatedly introduced, such as how to avoid dangerare nurtured and reinforced, while connections deemed unnecessary are pruned away. Adult brains undergo similar pruning, but it was unclear how or why synapses in the adult brain get eliminated.                      

    

Now, a team of KAIST researchers has found the mechanism underlying plasticity and, potentially, neurological disorders in adult brains. They published their findings on December 23 in Nature.

    

"Our findings have profound implications for our understanding of how neural circuits change during learning and memory, as well as in diseases," said paper author Won-Suk Chung, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at KAIST. "Changes in synapse number have strong association with the prevalence of various neurological disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, frontotemporal dementia, and several forms of seizures."

    

Gray matter in the brain contains microglia and astrocytes, two complementary cells that, among other things, support neurons and synapses. Microglial are a frontline immunity defense, responsible for eating pathogens and dead cells, and astrocytes are star-shaped cells that help structure the brain and maintain homeostasis by helping to control signaling between neurons. According to Professor Chung, it is generally thought that microglial eat synapses as part of its clean-up effort in a process known as phagocytosis.

    

"Using novel tools, we show that, for the first time, it is astrocytes and not microglia that constantly eliminate excessive and unnecessary adult excitatory synaptic connections in response to neuronal activity," Professor Chung said. "Our paper challenges the general consensus in this field that microglia are the primary synapse phagocytes that control synapse numbers in the brain."

  

Professor Chung and his team developed a molecular sensor to detect synapse elimination by glial cells and quantified how often and by which type of cell synapses were eliminated. They also deployed it in a mouse model without MEGF10, the gene that allows astrocytes to eliminate synapses. Adult animals with this defective astrocytic phagocytosis had unusually increased excitatory synapse numbers in the hippocampus. Through a collaboration with Dr. Hyungju Park at KBRI, they showed that these increased excitatory synapses are functionally impaired, which cause defective learning and memory formation in MEGF10 deleted animals.

 

"Through this process, we show that, at least in the adult hippocampal CA1 region, astrocytes are the major player in eliminating synapses, and this astrocytic function is essential for controlling synapse number and plasticity," Chung said.

    

Professor Chung noted that researchers are only beginning to understand how synapse elimination affects maturation and homeostasis in the brain. In his group's preliminary data in other brain regions, it appears that each region has different rates of synaptic elimination by astrocytes. They suspect a variety of internal and external factors are influencing how astrocytes modulate each regional circuit, and plan to elucidate these variables.

 

"Our long-term goal is understanding how astrocyte-mediated synapse turnover affects the initiation and progression of various neurological disorders," Professor Chung said. "It is intriguing to postulate that modulating astrocytic phagocytosis to restore synaptic connectivity may be a novel strategy in treating various brain disorders."

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201224090406.htm 

https://sciencecodex.com/astrocytes-eat-connections-maintain-plasticity-adult-brains-664004  

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-astrocytes-plasticity-adult-brains.html 

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201224/Researchers-find-mechanism-underlying-plasticity-in-adult-brains.aspx 

https://www.miragenews.com/astrocytes-eat-connections-to-maintain-plasticity-in-adult-brains/ 

https://microbiozindia.com/health-news/researchers-locate-mechanism-underlying-plasticity-in-grownup-brains/


List of Articles
번호 제목 글쓴이 날짜 조회 수
96 [조선일보] 생명과학과 김정회교수팀...자일리톨 추출 신기술 개발 과사무실 2007.08.29 13839
95 [조선일보] 김재섭 교수 고열에도 뇌손상 막는 유전자 최초 발견 과사무실 2005.01.31 11900
94 [조선일보] AMPK유전자, 암세포 치료에도 이용...정종경 교수팀 과사무실 2007.05.08 11845
93 [조병관 교수님] 한국연구재단, 노화 방지하고 회춘하는 방법 제시 생명과학과 2022.01.13 368
92 [조병관 교수님] 카이스트 조병관 교수팀, 합성생물학 기반 차세대 미생물 대사 조절 밸브 개발 생명과학과 2022.04.15 760
91 [조병관 교수님] 이산화탄소 흡수해 아세트산 만드는 '친환경 미생물' 5종 발견 생명과학과 2022.06.17 2505
90 [조병관 교수님] 대량의 고농도 일산화탄소를 고부가가치 바이오케미칼로 전환하는 기술 개발 생명과학과 2022.07.15 207
89 [정현정 교수님] 유전자 가위로 생체 내 정밀한 유전자 교정에 의한 면역 항암 치료​ 생명과학과 2022.01.18 441
88 [정인경 교수님] 기저 질환이 없는 코로나19 환자의 중증 신규 유전적 위험 인자 규명 생명과학과 2022.09.29 125
87 [정원석 교수님] 카이스트, 노화된 뇌에서 생겨난 비정상적 별아교세포 ‘아프다(APDA)’발견 생명과학과 2022.08.08 274
86 [정원석 교수님] 제28회 삼성휴먼테크 논문대상에서 생명과학과 변유경 학생 은상 수상​ 생명과학과 2022.03.02 385
85 [전상용 교수님] 항암치료용 인공탄수화물 기반 나노의약 개발​ 생명과학과 2022.07.12 226
84 [임정훈 동문교수님] “초파리로 루게릭병 잡는다” 임정훈 분자생물학자 생명과학과 2022.04.04 430
83 [이주형 학부생] 포스텍SF 어워드에서 생명과학과 학부생 이주형, 단편 부문 가작 선정 생명과학과 2022.02.10 340
82 [이승희 교수님] 신경전달물질 소마토스타틴의 알츠하이머 독성 개선효과 발견​ 생명과학과 2022.07.25 213
81 [이승재 교수님] 국내 연구팀, 예쁜꼬마선충을 이용 새로운 항노화 단백질 찾아 생명과학과 2021.12.13 394
80 [이승재 교수님] 건강한 장수를 유도하는 돌연변이 유전자 발굴 생명과학과 2021.11.24 290
79 [오병하 교수님] 오미크론에도 듣는 범용 항체, 국내에서 개발 생명과학과 2022.02.04 299
78 [오병하 교수님] 뉴스의인물/ KAIST 생명과학과 오병하 교수 생명과학과 2022.03.21 393
77 [연합뉴스]신종 박테리아 5개중 1개꼴 한국과학자 발견...이성택교수 과사무실 2007.04.04 14868
Board Pagination Prev 1 ... 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Next
/ 20