Evolving concepts of gliogenesis: A look way back and ahead to the next 25 years

Marc R. Freeman, David H. Rowitch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Glial cells are present in all organisms with a CNS and, with increasing brain complexity, glial cells have undergone substantive increases in cell number, diversity, and functions. Invertebrates, such as Drosophila, possess glial subtypes with similarity to mammalian astrocytes in their basic morphology and function, representing fertile ground for unraveling fundamental aspects of glial biology. Although glial subtypes in simple organisms may be relatively homogenous, emerging evidence suggests the possibility that mammalian astrocytes might be highly diversified to match the needs of local neuronal subtypes. In this Perspective, we review classic and new roles identified for astrocytes and oligodendrocytes by recent studies. We propose that delineating genetic and developmental programs across species will be essential to understand the core functions of glia that allow enhanced neuronal function and to achieve new insights into glial roles in higher-order brain function and neurological disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-623
Number of pages11
JournalNeuron
Volume80
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 30 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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