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The Science of Fibrous Astrocytes

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Kyla M

on 12 November 2012

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Transcript of The Science of Fibrous Astrocytes

THE
END! Astrocyte Cells! What do Astrocytes do? How do Astrocytes Relate to Other Cells? Astrocyte Cells What is an Astrocyte? An astrocyte cell is a fundamental glial cell located in the human brain and spinal cord. Glial cells, such as the astrocyte, support neurons in their functions. There are two main types of astrocytes; fibrous and protoplasmic. In our project, we chose to focus specifically on fibrous astrocytes. Although fibrous astrocytes are primarily found in the white matter of the brain, also known as the brain stem, they can be found throughout the rest of the brain and spinal cord, yet they are not as numerous. Astrocytes perform many vital functions, aiding the neurons. For instance, they ensure that the neurons are held in place by wrapping perineuronal feet around the cell body. In short, astrocyte cells are essential elements of the human nervous system. Astrocytes, as previously mentioned, are essential to the operation of neurons. Astrocytes have many organelles within the cell membrane. Unlike its "cousin", the protoplasmic astrocyte, fibrous astrocytes have, as indicated in the title, bundles of fibre within them. These bundles of fibre are called cytoplasmic filaments. These organelles stretch through the centre of the cell body, from one perivascular or perineuronal foot to another.
Additionally, fibrous astrocytes contain lysosomes which are responsible for moderating the neuron's metabolism. Fibrous astrocytes, similarly to most animal cells, also contain a mitochondria, an endoplasmic reticulum, cytoplasm, a nucleus, a nucleolus, a golgi apparatus, and a cell membrane which collectively contribute to the function of the cell. Fibrous astrocytes most commonly dwell in the white matter of the brain. Contrasting to this, the protoplasmic astrocytes live in the gray matter of the brain. Both forms of astrocytes are essential to the support of the neuron. Though the two cells are found more commonly in different places, both can be found throughout the brain. Fibrous astrocytes are star shaped, the points of the star being the perivascular feet, which are attached to the capillaries, and the perineuronal feet attached to neurons. The job of these feet is to keep the neurons in place and to supply them with nutrients from the capillaries. The word glial means glue, hence that is exactly what the astrocyte, and other glial cells, are. They essentially keep everything in working order. The neuron could not function without glial cells, such as the astrocyte, just as glial cells would have no purpose without neurons. Neurons and astrocytes are so closely interrelated that there could be no human life without either of them. Neuron Astrocyte Capillary This figure depicts a single astrocyte (purple) in relation to the two neurons (yellow) which it has attached itself to. The function of cytoplasmic filaments How can we relate astrocytes to ourselves? Upon pondering our relationship with astrocytes as humans, we realize that these important cells are more relevant to our lives than one may think. One example of this is sclerosis. Sclerosis occurs when there is an injury to the neurons in the brain, and is extremely serious. The astrocytes will proliferate in that portion of the brain creating scar tissue as a result.
Astrocyte cells play a major role in our daily lives. Astrocyte cells support the neurons, one of the main cells in the human nervous system, which we constantly rely heavily upon, in nearly every way. Without neurons, we would be incapable of functioning as we do. Although astrocytes are but a miniscule portion of the cells which compose us, they are certainly important. Research regarding astrocyte cells is incredibly useful for many reasons. For instance, it will help educate us on the topic of diseases, injuries, and related topics of the brain. This will in turn aid us in advancing our medical knowledge and technologies.
In conclusion, astrocyte cells are essential to human life, and are most certainly an important research topic for many reasons, including medical sciences.

Picture of astrocytes and capillary: http://missinglink.ucsf.edu/lm/introductionneuropathology/Response%20_to_Injury/Astrocytes.htm
Diagram of astro. Neuron capillary:
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/reward/cells.html
Diagram of brain:
http://www.webmd.com/brain/picture-of-the-brain
General info on cell:
Histology fourth edition by Thomas S. Leeson M.D., Ph.D. and C. Roland Leeson M.D., Ph.D. Copyright 1981
Molecular Biology of the cell by Bruce Alberts, Dennis Bray, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, and James D. Watson copyright 1983
Science Perspectives 10 by Christine Adam-Carr, Martin Gabber, Christy Hayhoe, Douglas Hayhoe Ph.D., Katherine Hayhoe B.Sc. M.S., Barry LeDrew, Milan Sanader B.Sc. B.Ed. M.Ed. Copyright 2010
Functional Histology by Paul R. Wheater, H. George Burkitt, Victor G. Daniels, Philip J. Deakin Copyright 1979 References Protoplasmic Astrocytes Fibrous Astrocytes Question Time! How many main types of astrocyte cells are there? Fibrous astrocytes are most abundant in the _____ matter of the brain. Two! The two main types of astrocyte cells are fibrous and protoplasmic. The "points" of the star-shaped astrocyte, called the perineuronal feet, are attached to what? The neuron! The perineuronal feet of astrocyte cells are attached to the neuron, and the perivascular feet are attached to capillaries. Label the following diagram! Capillary White! Fibrous astrocytes are most abundant in the white matter of the brain, whereas protoplasmic astrocytes are most abundant in the gray matter. Astrocyte Neuron Nucleus Perivascular Foot Perineuronal Foot Parts to Label: -Astrocyte
-Neuron
-Capillary
-Nucleus (Of Astrocyte)
-Perivascular Foot
-Perineuronal Foot Thanks For Watching!
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