About this Research Topic
Homeostatic regulation of neuronal excitability provides stability to the neural network, which is essential for maintaining normal brain functions. In a single neuron, neuronal excitability can be modulated by intrinsic membrane properties and ionic conductivity that determines the probability of action potential generation. While at the synaptic and circuit levels, neuronal excitability is modulated by excitatory or inhibitory synaptic transmissions, network oscillations. Dysregulation of neuronal excitability could lead to neuropsychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy, depression, autism, schizophrenia.
Neurons in the brain are surrounded by glial cells including astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes, etc. Research have revealed many structural and functional interactions between glia and neurons. For example, astrocytes have active roles in supporting neurons with metabolites, regulating cerebral blood flow, forming the tripartite synapse, as well as maintaining the homeostatic concentrations of extracellular transmitters and ions. Microglia survey the microenvironments of parenchyma and blood-brain barrier. Both astrocytes and microglia are responsive to a variety of local environmental and pathophysiological insults, such as neuronal activities, neuronal damage, and inflammatory cytokines. They are able to engulf synaptic elements and control neural circuit formation in both immature and adult CNS. Oligodendrocytes produce myelin sheath and provide support and insulation to axons. While neurons are known to dominate the control of neuronal activities, little is known about the roles of glia in modulating the neuronal excitability, synaptic transmissions, synaptic plasticity and network coordination, as well as how abnormal glia activations might result in neuronal hypo- or hyperexcitability and give rise to pathophysiological conditions in the brain.
This research topic aims to advance the understanding of neuronal excitability regulation and to address the role of non-neuronal cells in the modulation of neuronal excitability in the brain. Therefore, we welcome the submission of original research articles, reviews and commentaries that focus on, but not limited to, the following scopes:
- To study how do structural and functional interactions between glia and neurons modulate the neuronal excitability under physiological and pathophysiological conditions, in vitro and in vivo, using molecular and cellular biology methods, imaging methods, electrophysiology and computational tools.
- To explore the biophysical conditions and constraints in regulating the excitability of neural networks by glia
- To investigate potential pharmacological targets or diagnostic biomarkers on the glia that dysregulate the neuronal excitability and lead to the development of neurological and psychiatric conditions.
Keywords: Neuron, Astrocyte, Microglia, Glia, Excitability, Synaptic Transmission, Synaptic Plasticity, Epilepsy, Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
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