Saturday, October 16

What are the glia, the key “guardian” cells to understand the relationship between the brain and human behavior

  • Elena Quintana Menéndez and Eduardo García Laredo
  • The Conversation*

Illustration of a brain with a magnifying glass.


Billions and billions of glial cells coexist in our nervous tissue.

Today much of the research on bipolarity and schizophrenia no longer focuses on neurons, but on the glia. What’s that?

The “glia”, “glial cells” or simply “glia” are cells that are found in our nervous tissue. Not only in our brain: they are also in the peripheral nerves that run through our body.

Throughout history all the cells of our brain that were not classifiable as neurons (that is, they lack the ability to send electrical impulses, which they are not electrically excitable) were classified as glia.

There are not a few cells that fall within that label. If we consider that there are about a hundred trillion neurons in our brain, there are ten times as many glial cells. Almost nothing.

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