Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Cell type–specific glial networks

See allHide authors and affiliations

Sci. Signal.  18 Aug 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 390, pp. ec233
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad2444

Glial cells respond to neurotransmitters when nerve cells communicate with each other. Glial cells themselves release gliotransmitters that regulate neural synaptic transmission. Martín et al. studied this reciprocal relationship in a brain region called the dorsal striatum, which has two types of experimentally identifiable neurons and two types of synapses (see the Perspective by Gittis and Brasier). Subpopulations of glial cells selectively responded to the activity of one specific type of neuron. In turn, these specifically activated glial cells signaled only to the same type of neurons but not the other, indicating that glial-nerve signaling is largely cell-type specific.

R. Martín, R. Bajo-Grañeras, R. Moratalla, G. Perea, A. Araque, Circuit-specific signaling in astrocyte-neuron networks in basal ganglia pathways. Science 349, 730–734 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. H. Gittis, D. J. Brasier, Astrocytes tell neurons when to listen up. Science 349, 690–691 (2015). [Summary] [Full Text]