Glial Cells As Critical Players In Brain's Response To Social Stress

In the research study the researchers identifying that the glial cells; as critical players in brain’s response to social stress. Study exposure to violence, social conflict, and other stressors increase risk for psychiatric conditions such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Not everyone who experiences significant stress will develop such a response.

But however, the cellular and molecular basis; for an individual’s underlying resilience or the susceptibility to stressful events has remained poorly understanding. But the behavior of the oligodendrocytes the glial cells; that produce the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers playing a critical role in determining whether we succumb to or tolerate stress.

As the study identify brain region specific differences in the number of mature oligodendrocytes and in the content of myelin between two groups of mice who were categorizing based on their resilience or susceptibility to an identical social-defeat stressor. After repeated exposure to an aggressive mouse, some animals, called susceptible; avoiding any sort of social interaction with their peers, while others remained resilient and continued to be socially engaging.

Glial cells as critical players

Researchers exposed test mice to an aggressor for five minutes daily over 10 days. Following this period, the mice were placing in the presense of unfamiliar mouse and categorizing either as susceptible if they showing signs of social withdrawal or resilient if they still showed interest in socializing with the new mouse a social behavior that is typically detecting in normal mice.

The study next sought to determine if there were myelination; differences between susceptible and resilient mice. They looking at two areas of the brain that are known to play a critical role in determining the individual’s response to stress. In one of those areas the medial prefrontal cortex they finding that the myelinating segments of nerve fiber; in susceptible mice were shorter in length and thinner than typical.

Control mice groups

But this condition in the resilient or control mice groups. They also investigating the state of each mouse group’s glial cells, and discovered that in susceptible mice fewer of these cells had differentiated into myelin-producing oligodendrocytes. Researchers finding that inducing damage to the myelin in the medial prefrontal cortex caused altered social behavior in mice; but the behavior returned to normal when new myelin was forming.

The study suggest that oligodendrocyte progenitor differentiation; can be affecting by emotional and psychological events, and this provides a new concept for preventing and treating depression. Current treatments target neuronal function, but Dr. Liu’s work identifies potential new therapy targets as it suggests glial cell dysfunction could be a cause of stress-related mental disorders.