Synthesis and release of neuroactive substances by glial cells

Authors

  • David L. Martin

    Corresponding author
    1. Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research, New York State Department of Health, and Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York 12201-0509
    • Wadsworth Center For Laboratories and Research, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Glia contain, synthesize, or release more than 20 neuroactive compounds including neuropeptides, amino acid transmitters, eicosanoids, steroids, and growth factors. The stimuli that elicit release differ among compounds but include neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, receptor agonists, and elevated external [K+]. The mechanisms of release are poorly understood in most cases. Many of the neuroactive compounds are localized in discrete subpopulations of glia. Thus, glia are equipped to send as well as receive chemical messages and appear to be present as classes of cells with differing abilities to communicate chemically. It is possible that glia are as diverse as neurons in their functional characteristics.

Ancillary