Definition of glia in US English:



  • The connective tissue of the nervous system, consisting of several different types of cell associated with neurons.

    Also called neuroglia
    • ‘These factors play a pivotal role in brain development by direction the formation of neurons and supporting cells called glia from uncommitted progenitor cells.’
    • ‘From human embryonic stem cells the company has produced the three types of brain cells, namely glia (glue cells), astrocytes (star cells) and oligodendrocytes (few branches cells).’
    • ‘The transplanted stem cells engrafted and differentiated into human neurons and glia that intermingled with host brain counterparts.’
    • ‘Most of the bone marrow-derived cells in the brain tissue were glia (support cells) and other non-neuronal cells.’
    • ‘He showed that this was due primarily to the growth of more synapses and more nonneural supporting cells called glia.’


Late 19th century: from Greek, literally ‘glue’.