What is Gliosis?
Gliosis is the reactive response of the glial cells in the central nervous system following a trauma or injury to the brain. It is a process of scar formation in the brain that resulted from the proliferation of the astrocytes in the part of the brain that has been diseased or injured. It is a nonspecific response of several types of glial cells in the central nervous system that often leads to the formation of scar.
Gliosis involves a process that undergoes series of changes of molecular and cellular that takes place over several days. It involves the glial cells in the brain and in the spinal cord and is the primary immune response after an injury or damage in the brain takes place.
The onset of gliosis can be either beneficial or detrimental to the central nervous system. The gliosis helps the surrounding healthy cells from further harm or damage. This is achieved by containing the damaged and unhealthy neurons. The protection of the healthy cells from the results of cell death and inflammation is the beneficial part of the gliosis. On the other hand, the onset of gliosis is detrimental in part when the scarring continues subsequently leading to an irreversible damage or permanent damage to the neurons. The continuous scarring can also prevent the surrounding neurons from recovering completely.
Symptoms of Gliosis
Gliosis is a process of cellular and molecular changes of the glial cells that generally occur as a nonspecific response from trauma and damage in the central nervous system. This can occur in any part of the brain with which a trauma, disease or an injury has occurred.
The glial scars are created after the glial cells initially collected all the damaged or dead neurons. The scar serves as the wall or barrier to contain the damaged or dead neurons so as to protect the surrounding healthy cells from the harm of the dead cells.
The clinical manifestation of gliosis therefore depends on the part of the brain and spinal cord that has been damaged or injured. It can occur in any part of the brain and spinal cord particularly where an injury has occurred. Gliosis located in the sensory cortex may cause the patient to experience numbness and tingling sensation while gliosis in the motor cortex may cause the patient to experience weakness. A gliosis that occurred in the occipital lobe can result to visual impairment of the patient.
Injury, trauma and disease in the brain and the spinal cord trigger the process of gliosis. The migration macrophages and microglia to the site of the injury is the primary process of gliosis. This process in known as microgliosis which occur several hours immediately after the injury to the central nervous system has occurred.
Over several days after microgliosis has developed, remyelination will occur after the oligodendrocyte precursor cells have migrated to the site of injury. The glial scar then develops after the surrounding astrocytes has proliferated or is known as astrogliosis.
Gliosis occur after the astrocytes have proliferated. The incidence is brought by several factors that bring injury to the brain and the spinal cord.
Stroke or cardiovascular accident is a medical emergency in which the brain has ceased from functioning due to an interruption in the blood flow of the brain. The interruption to blood supply in any part of the brain may lead to death of brain cells. The interruption in the blood flow may occur in the brain and thus the process of gliosis.
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease of the nervous system that involves the myelin sheath of the nerve cells of the brain and the spinal cord. This inflammatory disrupts the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The attack in the myelin sheath causes the damage in the brain tissue and the spinal cord which later will contribute to gliosis. Gliosis is the prominent feature of multiple sclerosis.
Other factors that contribute to gliosis include the following:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Acute trauma in the central nervous system
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
The treatment for gliosis is generally directed towards its underlying cause. Gliosis is a process of scar formation as a response of the immune system towards the trauma or injury incurred in the brain and in the spinal cord. This process is generally triggered by several factors that cause trauma and injury to the brain and the spinal cord.
No specific treatment has been identified for gliosis and the therapeutic approach is aimed towards minimizing the proliferation of the astrocytes in the central nervous system.