Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.

Subscribe

Sci. Signal., 3 August 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 133, p. ec240
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3133ec240]

EDITORS' CHOICE

Neuroscience Astrocytes, ATP, Brainstem, and Breathing

Peter R. Stern

Science, AAAS, Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK

Astrocytes (or glial cells), previously assumed to be passive players in brain physiology, may play a functional role in a number of complex behaviors. The central chemosensory control of breathing involves highly specialized neuronal populations in the brainstem, but what about astrocytes? Gourine et al. now present evidence that glial cells may help to control breathing. A number of techniques were used to reveal glial calcium rises in vitro that elicit a depolarization of neurons in the primary locus for central respiratory chemosensitivity. The depolarization in these neurons is evoked by vesicular release of ATP in neighboring astrocytes in response to the fall in extracellular pH. Thus, brainstem astrocytes have the ability to sense changes in blood and brain CO2, and pH directly, and may control the activity of the respiratory neuronal networks to regulate breathing.

A. V. Gourine, V. Kasymov, N. Marina, F. Tang, M. F. Figueiredo, S. Lane, A. G. Teschemacher, K. M. Spyer, K. Deisseroth, S. Kasparov, Astrocytes control breathing through pH-dependent release of ATP. Science 329, 571–575 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: P. R. Stern, Astrocytes, ATP, Brainstem, and Breathing. Sci. Signal. 3, ec240 (2010).



To Advertise     Find Products


Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882