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Science 339 (6116): 197-200

Copyright © 2013 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Glutamate-Dependent Neuroglial Calcium Signaling Differs Between Young and Adult Brain

Wei Sun,1,* Evan McConnell,1,* Jean-Francois Pare,2,* Qiwu Xu,1,* Michael Chen,1 Weiguo Peng,1 Ditte Lovatt,1 Xiaoning Han,1 Yoland Smith,2 Maiken Nedergaard1,{dagger}

Abstract: An extensive literature shows that astrocytes exhibit metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5)–dependent increases in cytosolic calcium ions (Ca2+) in response to glutamatergic transmission and, in turn, modulate neuronal activity by their Ca2+-dependent release of gliotransmitters. These findings, based on studies of young rodents, have led to the concept of the tripartite synapse, in which astrocytes actively participate in neurotransmission. Using genomic analysis, immunoelectron microscopy, and two-photon microscopy of astrocytic Ca2+ signaling in vivo, we found that astrocytic expression of mGluR5 is developmentally regulated and is undetectable after postnatal week 3. In contrast, mGluR3, whose activation inhibits adenylate cyclase but not calcium signaling, was expressed in astrocytes at all developmental stages. Neuroglial signaling in the adult brain may therefore occur in a manner fundamentally distinct from that exhibited during development.

1 Division of Glial Disease and Therapeutics, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
2 Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Department of Neurology, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: Nedergaard{at}URMC.Rochester.edu


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