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My name is Keith Sharkey.
I'm a professor of physiology and pharmacology,
at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
I'm going to discuss enteric glia,
the "glue" of the enteric nervous system.
In this presentation, I'm going to discuss with you enteric glial cells,
both from an anatomical and functional standpoint,
within the enteric nervous system of the gut.
"Glue" refers to the term glia,
which were originally thought to be
just largely supportive elements within the nervous system.
But we now know the glia play a much more important role than
simply the holding the nervous system together, as it were.
They have important metabolic and functional roles in terms of neurotransmission,
and the enteric nervous system is no exception.
Whilst we know far less about how the glia of
the enteric nervous system work relative to what we
know about astrocytes or oligodendrocytes within the brain,
I'd like to share with you some of our understanding of the role of enteric glia
within this important part of the autonomic nervous system.
Before I begin, I'd just like to acknowledge the assistance that I've had from Dr. Brian Gulbransen,
an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology at Michigan State University,
who helped make some of the slides in this presentation and contributed
importantly to the development of many of the ideas that I'm presenting.
I would like to thank Yasmin Nasser,
who was a graduate student,
and also contributed to some of the data that I'm presenting from my own lab,
and some of the ideas we've developed in this area.
Much of the work done in my lab has been performed by Winnie Ho and Cathy McNaughton,
and I would like to acknowledge their contributions,
and finally, I would like to thank
my many collaborators who helped contribute to the original data that I'm presenting,
and I would like to acknowledge my colleagues in the field whose work
that I'm presenting in various slides as part of this presentation.