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Astrocyte-mediated neuronal synchronization properties revealed by false gliotransmitter release

Lookup NU author(s): Neela Codadu



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 Pirttimaki, Sims et al Astrocytes spontaneously release glutamate (Glut) as a gliotransmitter (GT), resulting in the generation of extrasynaptic NMDARmediated slow inward currents (SICs) in neighboring neurons, which can increase local neuronal excitability. However, there is a deficit in our knowledge of the factors that control spontaneous astrocyte GT release and the extent of its influence. We found that, in rat brain slices, increasing the supply of the physiological transmitter Glut increased the frequency and signaling charge of SICs over an extended period. This phenomenon was replicated by exogenous preexposure to the amino acid D-aspartate (D-Asp). Using D-Asp as a “false” GT, wedetermined the extent of local neuron excitation byGTrelease in ventrobasal thalamus,CA1hippocampus, and somatosensory cortex. By analyzing synchronized neuronal NMDAR-mediated excitation, we found that the properties of the excitation were conserved in different brain areas. In the three areas, astrocyte-derived GT release synchronized groups of neurons at distances of>200μm. Individual neurons participated in more than one synchronized population, indicating that individual neurons can be excited by more than one astrocyte and that individual astrocytes may determine a neuron’s synchronized network. The results confirm that astrocytes can act as excitatory nodes that can influence neurons over a significant range in a number of brain regions. Our findings further suggest that chronic elevation of ambient Glut levels can lead to increased GT Glut release, which may be relevant in some pathological states.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pirttimaki TM, Sims RE, Saunders G, Antonio SA, Codadu NK, Parri HR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 2017

Volume: 37

Issue: 41

Pages: 9859-9870

Print publication date: 11/10/2017

Acceptance date: 27/06/2017

Date deposited: 07/11/2017

ISSN (print): 0270-6474

ISSN (electronic): 1529-2401

Publisher: Society for Neuroscience


DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2761-16.2017

PubMed id: 28899919


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