New research has shown how astrocytes control the generation of new neurons in the brain. Earlier research in the same laboratory demonstrated that astrocytes reduce brain tissue damage after stroke and that the integration of transplanted neural stem cells can be largely improved by modulating the activity of astrocytes.
“In the brain, astrocytes control how many new neurons are formed from neural stem cells and survive to integrate into the existing neuronal networks, said Milos Pekny, Professor and Laboratory Director, Center for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, University of Gothenburg. "Astrocytes do this by secreting specific molecules but also by much less understood direct cell-cell interactions with stem cells.”