“Are they secreting some sort of chemicals that help with regeneration and healing processes? It’s not understood what they do. That’s a fascinating part of the work.”
Eyiyemisi Damisah, MD, and colleagues recently published data from a study using photochemical and viral methodologies to induce death in single neurons to gain an understanding of the roles different phagocytes play in the process. They observed an orchestrated and synchronized response from the players, with each glial cell operating in a specialize role, but also uncovered an additional player in the process.

In a conversation with NeurologyLive, Damisah, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine, explained that they found that in addition to microglia and astrocytes, they observed NG2 glia in the vicinity of a dying neuron also rapidly polarize their processes toward
the cell corpse. While the role of the astrocytic and NG2 glial process polarization is not understood, they speculated that it might be an attempt to form a cell barrier.

Damisah spoke to the process that she and colleagues observed as well as the number of additional questions that were raised by their findings. 
REFERENCES
Damisah EC, Hill RA, Rai A, et al. Astrocytes and microglia play orchestrated roles and respect phagocytic territories during neuronal corpse removal in vivo. Science Advances. 2020;6(26):eaba3239. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3239.