Neurons diversify astrocytes in the adult brain through sonic hedgehog signaling.

Science

PubMedID: 26912893

Farmer WT, Abrahamsson T, Chierzi S, Lui C, Zaelzer C, Jones EV, Bally BP, Chen GG, Théroux JF, Peng J, Bourque CW, Charron F, Ernst C, Sjöström PJ, Murai KK. Neurons diversify astrocytes in the adult brain through sonic hedgehog signaling. Science. 2016;351(6275):849-54.
Astrocytes are specialized and heterogeneous cells that contribute to central nervous system function and homeostasis. However, the mechanisms that create and maintain differences among astrocytes and allow them to fulfill particular physiological roles remain poorly defined. We reveal that neurons actively determine the features of astrocytes in the healthy adult brain and define a role for neuron-derived sonic hedgehog (Shh) in regulating the molecular and functional profile of astrocytes. Thus, the molecular and physiological program of astrocytes is not hardwired during development but, rather, depends on cues from neurons that drive and sustain their specialized properties.