"Satellite glia are essential modulators of sympathetic neuron survival, activity, and autonomic function"
In our October Journal Club we discussed a paper recently published on bioRxiv from Rejji Kuruvilla’s lab. First author Aurelia A. Mapps and co-workers investigated the contribution of satellite glia, which envelop neuronal cell bodies, to sympathetic functions. They found that satellite glial ablation resulted in soma atrophy of sympathetic neurons and neuronal loss, which was at least in part mediated via extracellular buffering of K+ via potassium channel Kir4.1 We were especially fascinated by the opposite effect satellite glia ablation had on the remaining neurons, which displayed an increase in activity, and mice with satellite glia had larger pupils and an elevated heart rate. This is an exciting study revealing that neuron-satellite communication is essential for sympathetic function!