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Introduction

The study of glial cells is one of the topics that has aroused most interest in recent years in the field of Neurosciences. Glial cells (astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells, Schwann cells and ganglion satellite cells) act as trophic and metabolic support for neurons, participating in brain development and maintenance of brain function under physiological conditions. Furthermore, evidence is progressively accumulating indicating that glial cells play a crucial role in the processes of neurodegeneration and regeneration of the nervous system, being involved in the etiopathogenesis and development of certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis. Numerous research groups around the world focus their efforts on unveiling the molecular and functional characteristics of the different glial strains, approaching their study through the application and development of diverse technologies and using a wide variety of experimental models.

At the national level, the need for the establishment of a Network made up of the different Spanish groups involved in the study of glial cells was contemplated. The Network would foster cooperation and the development of joint activities by promoting interaction between the different laboratories with the aim of making better use of human and research resources.

The Glial Network has about forty research groups with more than 150 members including CSIC research staff, research institute staff, university professors and predoctoral students.