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Science 310 (5745): 113-116

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Astrocytic Purinergic Signaling Coordinates Synaptic Networks

Olivier Pascual,1 Kristen B. Casper,2 Cathryn Kubera,1 Jing Zhang,1 Raquel Revilla-Sanchez,1 Jai-Yoon Sul,1 Hajime Takano,1 Stephen J. Moss,1 Ken McCarthy,2 Philip G. Haydon1*

Abstract: To investigate the role of astrocytes in regulating synaptic transmission, we generated inducible transgenic mice that express a dominant-negative SNARE domain selectively in astrocytes to block the release of transmitters from these glial cells. By releasing adenosine triphosphate, which accumulates as adenosine, astrocytes tonically suppressed synaptic transmission, thereby enhancing the dynamic range for long-term potentiation and mediated activity-dependent, heterosynaptic depression. These results indicate that astrocytes are intricately linked in the regulation of synaptic strength and plasticity and provide a pathway for synaptic cross-talk.

1 Department of Neuroscience, Conte Center for Integration at the Tripartite Synapse, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
2 Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed: email: pghaydon{at}

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