Starting with an historical overview of glia from the early 19th century (including Dr. Raju's contribution on GFAP staining in in vitro models in 1980), she shared about the classification of glia that make upto 90% of the cells of the nervous system. She pointed out that glia make up 90% of the human nervous system as compared to 80% in chimps, 60% in rodents and only 20% in the drosophila. Thought provoking...
Referring to the astrocytes as the CEO, microglia as the protectors and schwann and oligodendrocytes as insulators, she discussed a wide variety of different glial cells including the NG2 variant that are uniquely found in neuron-glia synapses which are unidirectional and maintained even during mitosis. These are thought to be precursors of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
Glia play many major roles. Astrocytes for example are involved in developmental (stem cells, path finders, synaptogenesis), structural, vascular (blood brain barrier), metabolic (energy supply and waste management), CNS environment control (ionic concentration), signalling pathways, disease management (astrogliosis and its after effects) etc.
A comprehensive seminar looking at the various types of glia, their functions in normal and pathological conditions.