If that’s not enough neuroscience jargon for you this week, then read more of the Journal of Neuroscience. Before briefly summarizing this week’s featured article, I will comment on the words above, which sadly, have no layman substitutions. Astrocytes are starfish-shaped glial cells critical for mechanical support, nutrient delivery, chemical homeostasis, neurotransmitter reuptake (i.e. they have transporters that are neurotransmitter-specific and clear the respective neurotransmitter from the synapse), and recently found, sleep/wake homeostasis (see “GABA, Glia, Amygdala, and Blue Light” for more information). Synaptogenesis is not as daunting; (synapto=synapse) + (genesis=growth, anew) = synthesis of new neuronal synapses and greater communication between neurons.
In this picture, antibodies are labeled against green fluorescent protein (GFP), beta-galactosidase (which I remember nothing about from biochemsitry/bioenergetics, but quickly reminded through wikipedia: it’s an enzyme involved with the metabolism of carbohydrates, nuff said), and another neuronal marker. To read further about the integral role of astrocytes in synaptogenesis, here’s the article.
In the meantime, I will attempt to find an object in this 3D-esque stereogram (i.e. Magic Eye).