Researchers study role of glia in neurodegeneration

Researchers at the University of Washington say they've found that the tissue that surrounds neurons in the central nervous system--known as glia-plays a role in neurodegeneration. Using a mouse model, the scientists found that the reduced transfer of glutamate into glial cells played a role in the degeneration of Purkinje neurons. The theory is that that may be the cause of neuronal death seen in diseases like Alzheimer's, Huntington's and prion disease. Their focus was on spinocerebellar ataxia type 7, or SCA7, in which a mutation glia interferes with the transport of a neurotransmitter. Their work is published in the October issue of Nature Neuroscience.

- check out the UPI report on glia