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Neuroglia at the crossroads of homoeostasis, metabolism and signalling: evolution of the concept

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Author(s): Vladimir Parpura | Alexei Verkhratsky

Journal: ASN Neuro
ISSN 1759-0914

Volume: 4;
Issue: 4;
Start page: e00087;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease | astrocyte | disease | health | neuron | white matter

ABSTRACT
Ever since Rudolf Virchow in 1858 publicly announced his apprehension of neuroglia being a true connective substance, this concept has been evolving to encompass a heterogeneous population of cells with various forms and functions. We briefly compare the 19th–20th century perspectives on neuroglia with the up-to-date view of these cells as an integral, and possibly integrating, component of brain metabolism and signalling in heath and disease. We conclude that the unifying property of otherwise diverse functions of various neuroglial cell sub-types is to maintain brain homoeostasis at different levels, from whole organ to molecular.

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