plural glia
: supporting tissue intermingled with the essential elements of nervous tissue especially in the brain, spinal cord, and ganglia

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The team wanted to switch the glia into neurons that would produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter also involved in movement (among other things). Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, 12 Oct. 2018 Getting quick-to-multiply glia to convert and start producing dopamine could serve as a therapy to help treat Parkinson’s and other disorders involving the neurotransmitter. Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, 12 Oct. 2018 So the team came up with a collection of proteins that, ideally, would have reverted those glia to a stem-cell state, then spurred them into developing into dopamine-producing cells. Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, 12 Oct. 2018 But the more neuroscientists examine glia, the more versatile these cells turn out to be. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 25 Mar. 2019 And humans have many more of a certain kind of glia, called astrocytes, than do non-primate mammals. Lisa Raffensperger, Discover Magazine, 7 Mar. 2013 Neurovirology may take a place alongside sessions on long-term memory, synapses and glia at some future SFN meeting. Gary Stix, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2021 These differences were observed in neurons and other brain cells—glia and immune cells called microglia. Stephani Sutherland, Scientific American, 21 Jan. 2021 But how can myelinating glia detect neural impulses flowing through axons? R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, 12 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


New Latin, from Middle Greek, glue — more at clay

First Known Use

1891, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glia was in 1891

Dictionary Entries Near glia

Cite this Entry

“Glia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition

plural glia
: supporting tissue that is intermingled with the essential elements of nervous tissue especially in the brain, spinal cord, and ganglia, is either of ectodermal or mesodermal origin, and is composed of a network of fine fibrils and of flattened stellate cells with numerous radiating fibrillar processes see macroglia, microglia
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