New Hope for Brain Injury Patients in Glia Brain Cells
A recent study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has shed light on a relatively unknown group of brain cells called glia brain cells. Even now their role in brain function is not completely understood. These glia cells exist in the brain at ten times the rate of neurons.
Glia brain cells regulate complex functions in the brain including cerebral blood flow, brain inflammation, and the circadian rhythms (internal human clock) scientist in almost all fields of study are racing to unlock the secrets of these bountiful and enigmatic brain cells.
Researchers have examined patterns of gene activity in neurons and two kinds of glia brain cells. The astrocytes or astroglia are star-shaped glia brain cells of the brain and spinal cord. These cells are responsible for biochemical support of endothelial cells which form the blood-brain barrier and provide access to nutrients for the nervous tissue. Astrocytes also serve metabolic functions such as moving and storing glucose. This suggests that astrocytes may serve as glucose reserves for glucose-depleted neurons. They are also responsible for repairing and the process scarring of the brain and spinal cord after a traumatic injury such as a TBI. Astrocytes may hold the cure for victims of traumatic brain injuries or stroke. The other glia brain cell to earn distinction is oligodendrocytes or oligodendroglia. These glia brain cells are responsible for insulating the axons exclusively in the central nervous system of the higher vertebrates. Oligodendrocytes form layers of a fatty material called myelin that’s serves to insulate axons. Axons are the threadlike extensions that neurons use to connect to each other.
The study was conducted on mice and their brain functions but it holds great promise for victims of head injuries such as contusions, penetrating head injuries and TBIs.