Sculpting the nervous system: Glial control of neuronal development

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Glial cells are not passive spectators during nervous system assembly, rather they are active participants that exert significant control over neuronal development. Well-established roles for glia in shaping the developing nervous system include providing trophic support to neurons, modulating axon pathfinding, and driving nerve fasciculation. Exciting recent studies have revealed additional ways in which glial cells also modulate neurodevelopment. Glial cells regulate the number of neurons at early developmental stages by dynamically influencing neural precursor divisions, and at later stages by promoting neuronal cell death through engulfment. Glia also participate in the fine sculpting of neuronal connections by pruning excess axonal projections, shaping dendritic spines, and secreting multiple factors that promote synapse formation and functional maturation. These recent insights provide further compelling evidence that glial cells, through their diverse cellular actions, are essential contributors to the construction of a functionally mature nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

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Neuroglia
Nervous System
Fasciculation
Neurons
Dendritic Spines
Neuronal Plasticity
Synapses
Cell Death
Cell Count

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Sculpting the nervous system : Glial control of neuronal development. / Freeman, Marc.

In: Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Vol. 16, No. 1, 02.2006, p. 119-125.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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