Roles of glia in the Drosophila nervous system

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2006 Feb;17(1):66-77. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2005.11.012. Epub 2006 Jan 18.


Glial cells have diverse functions that are necessary for the proper development and function of complex nervous systems. Various insects, primarily the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the moth Manduca sexta, have provided useful models of glial function during development. The present review will outline evidence of glial contributions to embryonic, visual, olfactory and wing development. We will also outline evidence for non-developmental functions of insect glia including blood-brain-barrier formation, homeostatic functions and potential contributions to synaptic function. Where relevant, we will also point out similarities between the functions of insect glia and their vertebrate counterparts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / anatomy & histology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / anatomy & histology
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / embryology
  • Homeostasis
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Olfactory Bulb / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Bulb / embryology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / anatomy & histology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / embryology
  • Wings, Animal / anatomy & histology
  • Wings, Animal / embryology


  • Neurotransmitter Agents