About this Research Topic
Glial cells are no longer considered passive bystanders in neuronal brain circuits. Not only are they required for housekeeping and brain metabolism, they are active participants in regulating the physiological function and plasticity of brain circuits and the online control of behavior both in invertebrate and vertebrate model systems. In invertebrates, glial cells are essential for normal function of sensory organs (C. elegans) and necessary for the circadian regulation of locomotor activity (D. melanogaster). In the mamallian brain, astrocytes are implicated in the regulation of cortical brain rhythms and sleep homeostasis. Disruption of AMPA receptor function in a subset of glial cell types in mice show behavioral deficits. Furthermore, optogenetic control of glia can directly control behavioral output. Regulation of ionic gradients by glia can underlie bistability of neurons and can modulate the fidelity of synaptic transmission. Grafting of human glial progenitor cells in mouse forebrain results in human glial chimeric mice with enhanced plasticity and improved behavioral performance, suggesting that astrocytes have evolved to cope with information processing in more complex brains. Taken together, current evidence is strongly suggestive that glial cells are essential contributors to information processing in the brain.
The goal of this research topic is to summarize our most recent understanding of glial cells with respect to the regulation of plasticity of neural circuits, entrainment of brain rhythms and the control of behavior. Likewise we are interested in understanding how glial cells are activated in response to behavior. We welcome submissions that try to find common motifs in glial function across brain regions, or species. Furthermore, we welcome submissions presenting novel tools that can be used to control and read-out the function of glial cells in the intact brain.
Submissions consist of research topics, reviews or commentaries.
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
* Glial control of extracellular ionic gradients and excitability
* Glial signaling during or in response to behavior
* Role of glia in short and long-term plasticity
* Cross-species comparisons of glial function
* Computational aspects of glial signaling in vivo
* Entrainment of brain rhythms by glial cells
* Novel tools to probe glial signaling in vivo.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.