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Astrocytes in Diagnosis of Brain Disorders



Brain Neuronal Disorders can be Diagnosed using Astrocytes


Excitatory and inhibitory notes are required for control and regulation of neurons in the brain. This notes originate from the synapses, two distinct forms of a cellular structure. They link neurons together enabling transmission of information between cells. A union of these harmonies result in the sensible interpretations.


In the diagnosis of brain disease, the synapses are the regions investigated to ascertain the cause of the disease. However the Astrocyte is now the new fond object investigated by scientists to ascertain cause.

Astrocytes also referred to as glia, are star-shaped cells that form the glue-like framework of the brain. Formerly they were found to be involved in the control of excitatory synapses more so, another study obtained that they are involved in the control of inhibitory synapses. This is possible by binding to a molecule called NrCAM. The astrocytes are able to adhere to these molecule by reaching out as thin fine tentacles to the inhibitory synapse. The astrocytes are believed to be the conductors that regulate the notes that make up the music of the brain.


Previously the Excitatory synapses which are the brain’s accelerator and inhibitory synapses which are the brain’s brakes were thought to be most important instruments in the brain. It is indicated that excessive excitation can result in epilepsy while schizophrenia results from excessive inhibition, conclusively it was determined that autism occurs due to an imbalance of excitation and inhibition. This discovery makes astrocytes a new point of focus in brain therapies.



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Manipulation of the astrocytes leads to alteration of the wiring of the neurons. Using a virus as a means to insert an enzyme into the brain of a mouse, the proteins connecting the astrocytes and neurons were labeled. Once tagging was completed, it was possible to pluck the tagged proteins from the brain tissue and use mass spectrometry to identify the adhesion molecule NrCAM.


It was discovered after conducting assays to determine how the adhesion molecule NrCAM plays a role in the connection between astrocyte and inhibitory synapses that NrCAM was a missing link that regulated how astrocytes influenced inhibitory synapses. Thus demonstrating their influence on all notes of the brain.

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