The mystery and magic of glia: a perspective on their roles in health and disease

Neuron. 2008 Nov 6;60(3):430-40. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.10.013.


In this perspective, I review recent evidence that glial cells are critical participants in every major aspect of brain development, function, and disease. Far more active than once thought, glial cells powerfully control synapse formation, function, and blood flow. They secrete many substances whose roles are not understood, and they are central players in CNS injury and disease. I argue that until the roles of nonneuronal cells are more fully understood and considered, neurobiology as a whole will progress only slowly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Humans
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology