Glial Biology

Glial cells regulate diverse physiological processes in the brain, including metabolism, blood flow, and neurotransmission, that are altered in disease states of the CNS. Two groups of MCIN faculty study glial related processes important to normal brain function.


Rash: A major component of our research has been to characterize astrocyte aquaporin-4 in health and disease using freeze-fracture replica immunogold labeling (FRIL) electron microscopy.

Furman CS, Gorelick-Feldman DA, Davidson KGV, Yasumura T, Neely JD, Agre P, Rash JE. Aquaporin-4 square array assembly: Opposing actions of M1 and M23 isoformProc Natl Acad Sci (USA) 100, 13609-13614 (2003).

Rash JE, Davidson KGV, Yasumura T, Furman CS. Freeze-fracture and immunogold analysis of aquaporin-4 (AQP4) square arrays, with models of AQP4 lattice assembly. Neuroscience 129, 915-934 (2004).

Rash,JE. Molecular disruptions of the panglial syncytium block potassium siphoning and axonal saltatory conduction: pertinence to neuromyelitis optica and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system." Neuroscience (In Press; epub before print) (2009)


Tjalkens: We study astrocyte calcium signaling and inflammatory gene regulation to understand how alterations in glial physiology contribute the progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD).

Carbone DA, Moreno JA, Tjalkens RB. Nuclear factor Kappa-B mediates selective induction of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in astrocytes during low-level inflammatory stimulation with MPTP. Brain Res 217, 1-9 (2008) PMID: 18508038

Tjalkens RB, Zoran M, Mohl B, Mouneimne R. Manganese suppresses ATP-dependent intercellular calcium waves in astrocyte networks through alteration of mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum calcium dynamics, Brain Res 1113, 210-219 (2006) PMID: 16934782