A study performed by Claúdia Queiroga and Helena Vieira, from the Cell Death and Disease Lab, identified and characterized a molecular pathway by which astrocytes protect neurons in the brain. It was already known that carbon monoxide (CO) has a neuroprotective role in each of this cells separately. In this study the researchers found that astrocystes and neurons are able to communicate in a bidirectional manner and that CO modulates astrocytic metabolism and extracellular ATP inducing protection of the neurons.
Article is entitled "Paracrine effect of carbon monoxide – astrocytes promote neuroprotection through purinergic signaling in mice" (full article here).
The press release about this study can be found in the Media Section here.