Astroglial control of vital neural networks

Year of award: 2011


  • Prof Alexander Gourine

    University College London

Project summary

Alexander studies central nervous mechanisms of cardiovascular and respiratory control. Interacting neural networks of the brainstem continually adjust our breathing and activity of the heart and blood vessels to meet the physiological and behavioural demands of the body. Until recently, glial cells called astrocytes have been thought to merely provide active neuronal networks with structural and nutritional support. However, new experiments suggest that astrocytes are actively involved in brain information processing and control of complex behaviours. Current research aims to understand the fundamental principles underlying astroglial influences over brain networks controlling breathing and cardiovascular activity.