Science Signaling Podcast: 10 April 2012

Sci. Signal.  10 Apr 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 219, pp. pc8
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003064

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This Podcast features conversations with the authors of two Research Articles published in the 3 April 2012 issue of Science Signaling. Groups led by Maiken Nedergaard and Katsuhiko Mikoshiba published new findings about how calcium signaling in astocytes modulates synaptic activity. Astrocytes are electrically nonexcitable, nonneuronal cells that can generate calcium waves that regulate synaptic activity and local blood flow. Nedergaard’s group found that astrocytes modulated synaptic activity by altering local concentrations of extracellular K+. Mikoshiba’s group reported that calcium signals are generated in the processes of astrocytes independently of the soma (cell body). This compartmentalization of calcium signals suggests that different processes of the same astrocyte may regulate target cells independently of one another and of the soma.

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