A new Study conducted by the Synapsy researcher Paola Bezzi and published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry shows that neuronal development in the prefrontal cortex and associated cognitive processes, depend on the proper functioning astrocytes.

Paola Bezzi and her collaborators discovered that astrocytes, a glial cell type, are important in the controlling and maintaining of dopamine levels, a fundamental molecule for the regulation of personality. The study is the first to decipher the role of astrocytes in regulating the amount of dopamine in this specific area of ​​the brain during postnatal development. Dopamine was primarily known as the neurotransmitter of pleasure and its known function was the activation of the reward circuits. Yet, Synapsy researchers have described another role for it, which is the regulation of cognitive functions.

In order to develop new therapeutic approaches to better treat neuropsychiatric pathologies, it is imperative to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms at the origin of behavioral disorders related to the prefrontal cortex such as schizophrenia, attention deficits or obsessive disorder. The results obtained by Bezzi’s group help to understand some of these mechanisms and may allow the development of new treatments. In turns, this discovery suggests that astrocytes could serve as regulators of intelligence and personality.

Author : YB from UNIL (FR) >

Publication :
Petrelli F, Dallérac G, Pucci L, Calì C, Zehnder T, Sultan S, Lecca S, Chicca A, Ivanov A, Asensio CS, Gundersen V, Toni N, Knott GW, Magara F, Gertsch J, Kirchhoff F, Déglon N, Giros B, Edwards RH, Mothet JP, Bezzi P;
Dysfunction of homeostatic control of dopamine by astrocytes in the developing prefrontal cortex leads to cognitive impairments.
Molecular Psychiatry [Epub ahead of print], Aug 2018. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0226-y >

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