Astrocytes, Adenosine, and Synaptic Plasticity

Science's STKE  11 Oct 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 305, pp. tw359
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3052005tw359

How do glial cells modulate or even control neurotransmission? Pascual et al. created transgenic mice in order to conditionally suppress release of transmitters from astrocytes. Basal synaptic transmission was increased, and long-term potentiation was decreased, in the hippocampus of the transgenic animals. Pharmacological studies further supported the hypothesis that adenosine, derived from adenosine triphosphate released by astrocytes, is a critical modulator of synaptic activity in these experiments.

O. Pascual, K. B. Casper, C. Kubera, J. Zhang, O. Revilla-Sanchez, J.-Y. Sul, H. Takano, S. J. Moss, K. McCarthy, P. G. Haydon, Astrocytic purinergic signaling coordinates synaptic networks. Science 310, 113-116 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]