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Silvio O. Conte Center

About the Center

News and Events

Last Update 3.6.08

US-Japan joint meeting for Glial Research (Click here for more information)

During the past decade there has been a significant change in our view of synaptic function: it has now become apparent that the synaptically-associated astrocyte is key for the control of synaptic transmission. Consequently, a concept of tripartite synaptic transmission has been proposed. Though the concept has been formulated, we are at the very early days in our understanding of the relative roles of presynaptic, postsynaptic and astrocytic elements in the control of functional synaptic transmission. The goal of this Conte center is to bring together a team of talented and experienced investigators to focus collaborative studies on the tripartite synapse. Our goal is to change the landscape of thinking by testing the overriding hypothesis that "Bidirectional signaling between astrocytes and pre- and postsynaptic neurons regulates the function of the tripartite synapse".

Because the biology of astrocytes is dramatically altered in neurological conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, elucidation of the basic biological properties of these non-neuronal cells is likely to impact our understanding of these debilitating disorders.

Funded by the NIH/NIMH, this Conte Center opened in 2004 under the direction of Dr. Philip Haydon. Questions or comments about this site can be addressed to synapse@mail.med.upenn.edu.

University of Pennsylvania | School of Medicine