Opera Medica et Physiologica

astrocytes

From Pathology to Physiology of Calcineurin Signalling in Astrocytes

Introduction

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Abstract

Astrocytes perform fundamental housekeeping functions in the central nervous system and through bidirectional communication with neurons are thought to coordinate synaptic transmission and plasticity. They are also renowned actors in brain pathology. Reactive gliosis and neuroinflammation are featured by many (if not all) acute and chronic neurodegenerative pathologies including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The Ca2+/calmodulin-activated phosphatase calcineurin (CaN) plays a central role in the pathology-related changes of astroglial cells mainly through activation of the inflammation-related transcription factors Nuclear Factor of Activated T-cells (NFAT) and Nuclear Factor kB (NF-kB). In this contribution we focus on the mechanistic aspects of CaN signalling in astrocytes. We analyze the astroglial Ca2+ signalling toolkit in the context of Ca2+ signals necessary for CaN activation and focus on the astroglial CaN signalling through its direct target, NFAT, as well as the intricate relationships between CaN and NF-kB activation pathways.The majority of data about CaN-mediated signalling in astrocytes point to the role for CaN in pathology-related conditions while very little is currently known about signalling and function of astroglial CaN in physiology.

Sex- and Age-Dependent Effects of Thyroid Hormone on Glial Morphology and Function

Introduction

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PDF icon OMP_2016_02_0031.pdf1.23 MB

Abstract

Thyroid hormones (THs) are essential for the development and function of the central nervous system (CNS), not only for neuronal cells but also for glial development and differentiation. In adult CNS, both hypo- and hyper-thyroidism may affect psychological condition and potentially increase the risk of cognitive impairment and neurodegeneration including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We have reported non-genomic effects of tri-iodothyronine (T3) on microglial functions and its signaling in vitro (MORI et al., 2015). Here we report the effects of hyperthyroidism on glial cells in vivo using young and old male and female mice. Immunohistochemical analyses showed glial activation are sex- and age-dependent. We also injected fluorescent-labeled amyloid β peptide (Aβ1-42) intracranially to L-thyroxine (T4)–injected hyperthyroid model mice and observed sex-dependent microglial phagocytosis in vivo as well. These results may partly explain the gender- and age-dependent differences in neurological and psychological symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.

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