Satellite glial cells in sensory ganglia: from form to function

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2005 Jun;48(3):457-76. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2004.09.001.


Current information indicates that glial cells participate in all the normal and pathological processes of the central nervous system. Although much less is known about satellite glial cells (SGCs) in sensory ganglia, it appears that these cells share many characteristics with their central counterparts. This review presents information that has been accumulated recently on the physiology and pharmacology of SGCs. It appears that SGCs carry receptors for numerous neuroactive agents (e.g., ATP, bradykinin) and can therefore receive signals from other cells and respond to changes in their environment. Activation of SGCs might in turn influence neighboring neurons. Thus SGCs are likely to participate in signal processing and transmission in sensory ganglia. Damage to the axons of sensory ganglia is known to contribute to neuropathic pain. Such damage also affects SGCs, and it can be proposed that these cells have a role in pathological changes in the ganglia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Ganglia, Sensory / physiology*
  • Ganglia, Sensory / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Satellite Cells, Perineuronal / physiology*
  • Satellite Cells, Perineuronal / ultrastructure
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, Cell Surface