- Dr. Pranav Sharma
- Neuroscientist at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA.
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- Dr. Y. Peng Loh
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
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Special Issue Introduction
The human brain is made up of about 90 billion neurons and an equal number of non-neuronal cells. It is fascinating to imagine how this coherent functioning unit containing about 180 billion cells is constructed and maintained. In neuroscience, there has been a laser-like focus on synapses, for the right reasons. However, trying to understand brain function by just looking at synapses is like trying to make sense of what an elephant is by touching only its trunk, blindfolded. While synaptic transmission is the fundamental means of communication in brain function, it is important to understand it in the context of how neurons communicate outside synapses. Neurons exchange extracellular vesicles (EVs)between themselves and other brain cells to develop, maintain, and adapt the synaptic architecture that functions as a coherent unit. Increasing evidence suggests that EVs play a critical role in neural circuit development and modulation of synaptic plasticity. Hypothetically, the two-way communication between neuronal activity and EVs is needed to optimize the synaptic function in the context of the whole neuronal circuit. Neuronal activity has been shown to influence EV release and content. Conversely, EVs have been sown to modulate synaptic transmission. In addition, EVs secreted by astrocytes and glial cells can also participate in the modulation of synaptic transmission. Hence, the emerging hypothesis is that neurons relay their activity state by secreting EVs and EVs bring about short- and long-range cellular microenvironment feedback to synapses and neurons on a continual basis. This synergy between EVs and synaptic transmission has implications in disease as well. EVs are the reporters of altered cell states due to cellular dysfunction resulting from disease. EVs also represent the brain’s attempt to reverse the cellular dysfunction resulting from disease.
In this special issue, we will explore the role of EVs in the development and function of the neuronal circuit and their implication in brain disorders and will include original research articles and reviews associated with the following topics:
(1) Role of neuronal activity on EV content and release
(2) Modulation of synaptic transmission by EVs
(3) Role of non-neuronal EVs in neural circuit function
(4) EVs in neurological disorders
Submission Deadline30 Apr 2022