The Term Glia, A Wrong Conceptual Tradition: Proposal for Change for Synneurons

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Jorge Eduardo Duque Parra; John Barco Ríos & Johanna Alexandra Barco Cano


Since their discovery, the non-neuronal cells of the nervous system have been called glia, a word of Greek origin that means union or glue, because it was believed that their function was to form a kind of putty, in which neurons are immersed. Thereafter, new cell types discovered by new staining techniques, were also classified as glia, which to this day are still considered as binding cells or glue of nerve tissue. The objective of this paper is to question the inappropriate use of the term glia and to propose a new term to designate non-neuronal cells. Despite the enormous knowledge that is currently available of these cells and the great variety of functions they perform to maintain the proper functioning of neurons and nerve circuits, they still retain the name of glia, an inappropriate name that blurs the true role they play. Therefore, the term "synneuronas" is proposed, from the Greek prefix syn which means with or together with, what would suggest that they are cells that present structural and functional proximity with to neurons.

KEY WORDS: History; Neuroglia; Nervous system; Terminology.

How to cite this article

DUQUE, P. J. E.; BARCO, R. J. & BARCO, C. J. A. The term glia, a wrong conceptual tradition: proposal for change for synneurons. Int. J. Morphol., 39(2):638-641, 2021.