Aphang provided an overview of "the much neglected" and "currently overhyped" glial cells. While glia have been discussed and described by Rudolf Virchow way back in 1856 and Kuffler etal did significant work on the electrical coupling between glia in 1966 but most of the research on glia have taken place after 1985. A look at the percentage of glia in the nervous system reveals a phylogenetic progression. For example, glial cells in the leech account for less than 10% of all its neural cells, in mice and rats this comes up to about 50% and in humans it is estimated to be around 90%.
Glia are now known to play significant developmental, structural, vascular and metabolic roles. The role of Astrocytes in neuronal signalling via Calcium waves via the InsP3 second messenger pathway through gap junctions and through extracellular release of ATP was discussed.
At the end there was an animated discussion on the point that while glia play a critical support function, is their role in neuronal signalling overhyped? Cell culture models don't use glia and also glia don't seem to play a significant role except in glutamatergic neurons (at the reuptake and recycling at the tripartite synapse).