Neuron to Astrocyte BDNF Transfer Promotes Astrocytic Abundance

Information in the brain is transferred by synapses – sites of contact between two neurons. But other cell types in the brain, like astrocytes, surround synapses and support them to make sure information is transmitted quickly and efficiently. This image shows that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – a factor that promotes growth – is transferred from active neurons to neighboring cells, including astrocytes. Once inside astrocytes, BDNF increases the growth of astrocytes surrounding nearby synapses, and this increases the efficiency of these synapses in transmitting information. Mutations in BDNF have been linked to depression and obesity.

Image details

Image acquisition technique: Confocal microscopy.
Guest contribution from our friends and colleagues at the European Neuroscience Institute (ENI – Goettingen).
Courtesy M. Stahlberg, C. Dean / ENI, CNMPB.