The Importance of Glia-Synapse Interactions in Synaptic Connectivity
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During the past decades, it has become clear that glial cells play a vital role in all stages of the synaptic life cycle: Formation, elimination, maintenance and plasticity. Here, I summarize what is known about glia-synapse interactions at these individual stages. While most research has been done on the responsible glial factors during development, there is a big gap in knowledge about the mechanisms of glia-synapse interactions in the adult brain. Thus, as a final chapter, I propose experiments that should aid at filling this gap. By using mice with conditional knockouts astrocytic Thrombospondin-4 (involved in synapse formation) and microglial C1qa (essential for synapse elimination), combined with a motor cortex-dependent learning task and in vivo imaging of synapse turnover, it would be possible to examine the effects of the knockouts in the mature brain.