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Hippocampal Short- and Long-Term Plasticity Are Not Modulated by Astrocyte Ca2+ Signaling

Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1250-1254
DOI: 10.1126/science.1184821

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Abstract

The concept that astrocytes release neuroactive molecules (gliotransmitters) to affect synaptic transmission has been a paradigm shift in neuroscience research over the past decade. This concept suggests that astrocytes, together with pre- and postsynaptic neuronal elements, make up a functional synapse. Astrocyte release of gliotransmitters (for example, glutamate and adenosine triphosphate) is generally accepted to be a Ca2+-dependent process. We used two mouse lines to either selectively increase or obliterate astrocytic Gq G protein–coupled receptor Ca2+ signaling to further test the hypothesis that astrocytes release gliotransmitters in a Ca2+-dependent manner to affect synaptic transmission. Neither increasing nor obliterating astrocytic Ca2+ fluxes affects spontaneous and evoked excitatory synaptic transmission or synaptic plasticity. Our findings suggest that, at least in the hippocampus, the mechanisms of gliotransmission need to be reconsidered.

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