The essay is titled “Why do neurons die? Astrocytes emerge as key mediators of neurodegeneration.”
In it, Guttenplan writes about a line of research that describes how astrocytes act as essential regulators of the nervous system’s response to disease and injury. Astrocytes, a type of glial cell that comprise roughly a third of the cells in the human brain, can enter a reactive state in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and multiple sclerosis.
The essay describes methods developed by Guttenplan and fellow researchers to prevent reactive astrocyte formation in mice, which may suggest avenues to develop therapies in people.
Guttenplan is a postdoctoral research in the lab of Marc Freeman, Ph.D., research scientist and director of the Vollum.