Calcium entry through kainate receptors and resulting potassium-channel blockade in Bergmann glial cells

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Science  12 Jun 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5063, pp. 1563-1566
DOI: 10.1126/science.1317969

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Glutamate receptors, the most abundant excitatory transmitter receptors in the brain, are not restricted to neurons; they have also been detected on glial cells. Bergmann glial cells in mouse cerebellar slices revealed a kainate-type glutamate receptor with a sigmoid current-to-voltage relation, as demonstrated with the patch-clamp technique. Calcium was imaged with fura-2, and a kainate-induced increase in intracellular calcium concentration was observed, which was blocked by the non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) and by low concentrations of external calcium, indicating that there was an influx of calcium through the kainate receptor itself. The entry of calcium led to a marked reduction in the resting (passive) potassium conductance of the cell. Purkinje cells, which have glutamatergic synapses, are closely associated with Bergmann glial cells and therefore may provide a functionally important stimulus.