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.


Sci. Signal., 15 January 2013
Vol. 6, Issue 258, p. ec17
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003957]


Neuroscience The Adult Astrocyte Is Different

Peter R. Stern

Science, AAAS, Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK

The concept of the tripartite synapse, whereby astrocytes actively modulate the communication between the pre- and postsynaptic site, is widely accepted. The release of gliotransmitters has been linked to release of Ca from intracellular stores through the activation of astrocytic metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) by glutamate spillover from synapses. However, nearly all studies on the tripartite synapse have used brain tissue collected from young individuals. Many receptors undergo changes in expression level during development. Sun et al. (see the Perspective by Grosche and Reichenbach) applied genomic analysis, electron microscopy, and calcium imaging in slices and in vivo to assess the presence and the functionality of mGluR5 and mGluR3 receptors during postnatal development in human and mouse astrocytes. Astrocytic expression of mGluR5 was lost by the third postnatal week in mice and was not present in human cortical astrocytes, which calls into question the viability of the tripartite synapse model for adult synapses.

W. Sun, E. McConnell, J.-F. Pare, Q. Xu, M. Chen, W. Peng, D. Lovatt, X. Han, Y. Smith, M. Nedergaard, Glutamate-dependent neuroglial calcium signaling differs between young and adult brain. Science 339, 197–200 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. Grosche, A. Reichenbach, Developmental refining of neuroglial signaling? Science 339, 152–153 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: P. R. Stern, The Adult Astrocyte Is Different. Sci. Signal. 6, ec17 (2013).

To Advertise     Find Products

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