This book is the introduction to a series of e-books dedicated to the physiology and pathophysiology of neuroglia. The topic of neuroglia is generally overlooked in neuroscience curricula across the world, the main attention being focused on the description of excitability of neurons and neuronal networks. The neuroglia, being electrically non-excitable, are universally regarded as supportive cells which do not contribute to information processing. This oversimplified view, however, ignores the tremendous importance of brain homeostasis, which is imperative for the ongoing activity of neuronal networks. It also ignores the truth that specialization of neurons and their ability for rapid propagation and multi-level integration of signals become possible only because of delegation of homeostatic abilities to neuroglia. Furthermore, glial cells contribute to information processing as they can modulate neuronal synaptic transmission. Finally, neuroglia provide the only system of brain defense and as such these cells are intimately involved in all types of neuropathologies, and contribute to both neuroprotection and regeneration of the nervous system. The e-books in this series provide a platform for in-depth learning of all aspects of neuroglial cells function in health and disease.
Table of Contents
Definition, Classification, and Evolution of Neuroglia
Functions of Neuroglia
About the Author(s)Alexei Verkhratsky
, The University of Manchester, U.K.
Professor Alexei Verkhratsky, MD, PhD, D.Sc., Member of Academia Europaea, Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Member of Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia (Spain), was born in 1961 in Stanislaw, Galicia, Western Ukraine. He graduated from Kiev Medical Institute in 1983, and received his PhD (1986) and D.Sc. (1993) in Physiology from Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology, Kiev, Ukraine. He joined the Division of Neuroscience, School of Biological Sciences in Manchester in September 1999, became a Professor of Neurophysiology in 2002, and served as Head of the Division from 2002 to 2004. From 2007 to 2010 he was appointed as visiting professor/Head of Department of Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic. In 2010 A. Verkhratsky was appointed as a Research Professor of Ikerbasque (the Basque Research Council), in 2011 as an Honorary Visiting Professor at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan and since 2012 has acted as Adjunct Scientific Director of the Achucarro Basque Centre for Neuroscience (Bilbao, Spain). Prof. A. Verkhratsky is a co-editor-in-chief of Cell Calcium (2000), and Membrane Transport & Signalling - Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (2009), Receiving Editor of Cell Death & Disease (2009), and a member of editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.
Prof. Alexei Verkhratsky is an internationally recognised scholar in the field of cellular neurophysiology. His research is concentrated on the mechanisms of inter- and intracellular signalling in the CNS, being especially focused on two main types of neural cells, neurones and neuroglia. He made important contributions to understanding the chemical and electrical transmission in reciprocal neuronal-glial communications and on the role of intracellular Ca2+ signals in the integrative processes in the nervous system. Many of A. Verkhratsky's studies are dedicated to investigations of cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. In recent years he studies the glial pathology in Alzheimer disease. He authored a pioneering hypothesis of astroglial atrophy as a mechanism of neurodegeneration.Vladimir Parpura
, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Vladimir Parpura, M.D., Ph.D., holds both a medical degree, awarded from the University of Zagreb in Croatia in 1989, and a doctorate in Neuroscience and Zoology from Iowa State University in 1993. He has held faculty appointments at the Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University, and the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of California Riverside. He is presently a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama Birmingham, as well as a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, Croatia. He was elected as a Member of Academia Europaea (MEA) in 2012. His current research includes: i) studying the modulation of calcium-dependent glutamate release from astrocytes in health and disease; ii) visualization of vesicular/receptor trafficking; iii) examination of the nature and energetics of interactions between exocytotic proteins using single molecule detection approaches; iv) development of scaffolds and dispersible materials, most notably modified carbon nanotubes, which can be used in repair after brain injury and v) bio-mimetic micro-robotics. He has been interfacing neuroscience with nanoscience/nanotechnology, synthetic biology and biomedical engineering.