Research ArticleNeuroscience

Astroglial networks promote neuronal coordination

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Science Signaling  12 Jan 2016:
Vol. 9, Issue 410, pp. ra6
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad3066

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Connected astrocytes help with coordination

Astrocytes are glial cells in the nervous system that are interconnected by gap junctions formed by connexins. Gap junctions form regulated pores that enable the connected cells to function as a unit by rapidly passing cytosolic signals. By analyzing hippocampal slices from mice that were deficient for astroglial connexins, Chever et al. found that interconnected astrocytes coordinated bursts of neuronal activity over large regions, which contributed to the intensity of induced seizures. Indeed, mice with disconnected astrocytes had more frequent, but less severe, chemically induced seizures than normal mice. Thus, intercellular communication between astrocytes enhances the coordination of activity in neuronal networks.

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