Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Astrocytes’ Hidden Ability to Generate Neurons

Sci. Signal.  14 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 347, pp. ec286
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa0461

New neurons could be useful in the brain to respond to damage done by disease, trauma, or just plain age. But the adult brain does not produce many new neurons. Working in mice, Magnusson et al. hunted for intrinsic genetic programs that can help adult brains produce replacement neurons. They found that astrocytes, spidery cells that are interspersed between neurons, carry a latent neurogenic program. The ability to entice astrocytes to replace neurons could obviate the need for neuronal replacement strategies.

J. P. Magnusson, C. Göritz, J. Tatarishvili, D. O. Dias, E. M. K. Smith, O. Lindvall, Z. Kokaia, J. Frisén, A latent neurogenic program in astrocytes regulated by Notch signaling in the mouse. Science 346, 237–241 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]