About Careers MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Star Shaped Brain Cells Called Astrocytes Regulate Breathing

by Kathy Jones on July 17, 2010 at 10:23 PM
Font : A-A+

 Star Shaped Brain Cells Called Astrocytes Regulate Breathing

Star shaped brain cells, Astrocytes, which were previously thought to act only as the 'glue' between neurons, have a central role in the regulation of breathing, a new study has found.

The finding provides a new dimension for research into fundamental principles of brain organization and function and may be relevant for understanding causes of devastating conditions associated with respiratory failure such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Advertisement

The scientists have found that brain astrocytes are able to sense the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.

They then activate brain neuronal respiratory networks to increase our breathing in accord with prevailing metabolism and activity.

Astrocytes are a subtype of a group of brain cells known as glia (which means 'glue' in Greek).
Advertisement

Astrocytes have been found to have a unique ability to 'taste' the composition of arterial blood entering the brain by sensing increases in arterial levels of carbon dioxide.

When activated they release a chemical messenger called ATP that stimulates brain respiratory centres to increase our breathing in order for extra carbon dioxide to be removed from the blood and exhaled.

Dr Alexander Gourineof UCL said: "This research identifies brain astrocytes as previously unrecognized crucial elements of the brain circuits controlling fundamental bodily functions vital for life, such as breathing, and indicates that they are indeed the real stars of the brain."

"This basic science information has to be used rapidly in order to determine whether glial dysfunction contributes to serious disorders of central control of breathing underlying Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and/or congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (Ondine's curse).

"If this hypothesis is correct astrocytes may be considered as potential targets for therapy in preventing respiratory failure," he added.

The findings were published in the Science Express.

Source: ANI
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
World AIDS Day 2022 - Equalize!
Test Your Knowledge on Sugar Intake and Oral Health
Test  Your Knowledge on Heart
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Brain Brain Facts Hyperventilation Ataxia Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 

Most Popular on Medindia

Blood - Sugar Chart Drug Side Effects Calculator Sinopril (2mg) (Lacidipine) Selfie Addiction Calculator Daily Calorie Requirements Find a Doctor The Essence of Yoga Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants Drug - Food Interactions Indian Medical Journals
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
×

Star Shaped Brain Cells Called Astrocytes Regulate Breathing Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests