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Glia get excited

A new study shows that a subset of the glia that express the proteoglycan NG2 can fire action potentials, contradicting the dogma that only neurons are excitable in the brain. These glia receive excitatory and inhibitory synaptic input, are selectively vulnerable to ischemia and are present into adulthood, though their function remains mysterious.

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Figure 1: The NG2+ glial cell in cerebellar white matter.

Katie Ris-Vicari

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Otis, T., Sofroniew, M. Glia get excited. Nat Neurosci 11, 379–380 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn0408-379

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