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Neuroscience Brown Bag Series

Thursday, December 06, 2018,
  • Location: Wilson Hall • 111 21St Ave S • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 316

Sandra Dos Santos, PhD

Department of Psychology (Herculano Lab)

Vanderbilt University

"Invariant glial cells densities in mammalian brains: causes and consequences"

While highly variable neuronal densities are found across brain structures and species, there is little variation of densities of non-neuronal cells. This talk will discuss the implications of new findings using specific markers to each glial cell subtype that show that across mammals, any brain structure in any species is composed of the same numbers of microglia and astrocytes per tissue volume. Among the many implications of these unexpected findings is that the addition of astrocytes and microglial cells to mammalian brains must be governed by evolutionary conserved developmental mechanisms over 200 million years that restrict the size of these cells. Possible mechanisms will be examined, along with their implications for neuronal and brain function, including the alternative that neurons are the truly exceptional cells in that their size is so variable. Whatever the scenario, this talk will explore how you don’t mess with the glia!