Glial mitochondrial signals impact neuronal proteostasis and ageing

Jan 18, 2024

Glial cells, when detecting mitochondrial stress, send signals to neurons that help maintain protein balance and reduce protein aggregation. This communication between glia and neurons is key in regulating protein homeostasis, significantly influencing the aging process and promoting longevity.

October 2023 – Science Advances


Key takeaways


  • Glial Cells as stress sensors: Glial cells are not just passive support cells but actively sense mitochondrial stress. They respond to this stress by initiating a cascade of protective responses, highlighting their critical role in the health and functioning of the nervous system
  • Maintenance of protein homeostasis: The response of glial cells to mitochondrial stress directly contributes to maintaining protein balance in neurons. This is achieved by reducing the aggregation of misfolded proteins, a process that is often compromised in aging and is associated with various neurodegenerative diseases
  • Signalling pathways between glia and neurons: The study underscores the importance of communication pathways between glial cells and neurons. These pathways involve the transfer of signals through specific types of vesicles, indicating a sophisticated level of intercellular communication that is vital for neural health


The findings suggest that the mechanisms by which glial cells and neurons interact in response to stress have a profound impact on the aging process. By maintaining protein homeostasis and neuronal health, these interactions could be key contributors to increased longevity and resistance to age-related neurodegenerative conditions.


Read the article at: Raz Bar-Ziv et al., Glial-derived mitochondrial signals affect neuronal proteostasis and aging. Sci. Adv. 9, eadi1411 (2023). DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adi1411.