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Role of glia-derived cholesterol in synaptogenesis: new revelations in the synapseglia affair

Summary: Role of glia-derived cholesterol in synaptogenesis:
new revelations in the synapse­glia affair
Christian Goš ritz, Daniela H. Mauch, Karl Naš gler, Frank W. Pfrieger*
Max-Planck/CNRS Group, UPR 2356, Centre de Neurochimie, 5, rue Blaise Pascal, F-67084 Strasbourg, France.
Brain development and function relies on the exchange of signals between neurons and glial cells. Here we review a series of
recent studies on cultures of purified retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that point to a new role of glial cells in the formation and plas-
ticity of synaptic connections. The results suggest that neurons must import glia-derived cholesterol via lipoproteins to form
numerous and efficient synaptic connections. This finding may explain why throughout the central nervous system (CNS) the main
phase of synaptogenesis starts synchronously after glia differentiation and why astrocytes produce apolipoprotein E (apoE) and
cholesterol-containing lipoproteins. Experimental tests of these hypotheses may further our understanding of the cholesterol
metabolism in the brain and may help to explain neurologic symptoms resulting from defective cholesterol and lipoprotein
# 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Synapses; Neuroglia; Cholesterol; Apolipoprotein E; Alzheimer's disease; Niemann-Pick type C disease
1. Introduction
Throughout their life, neurons rely on intimate affairs
with changing glial partners. While growing up, they
require guidance from radial glia to reach their final
place in the brain [15], their growth cones follow glial


Source: Alford, Simon - Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago


Collections: Biology and Medicine