Astrocytes respond to chemical, electrical and mechanical stimuli with transient increases in intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). We now show that astrocytes in situ display intrinsic [Ca2+]i oscillations that are not driven by neuronal activity. These spontaneous astrocytic oscillations can propagate as waves to neighboring astrocytes and trigger slowly decaying NMDA receptor-mediated inward currents in neurons located along the wave path. These findings show that astrocytes in situ can act as a primary source for generating neuronal activity in the mammalian central nervous system.
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Reinforcing Interdisciplinary Collaborations to Unravel the Astrocyte “Calcium Code”
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience Open Access 11 May 2022
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The authors wish to thank S.W. Hughes and T.I. Tóth for data analysis and the development of specialized statistical analysis software, and V.H. Perry for assistance with the immunocytochemistry analysis. The work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant 37089–98).
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Parri, H., Gould, T. & Crunelli, V. Spontaneous astrocytic Ca2+ oscillations in situ drive NMDAR-mediated neuronal excitation. Nat Neurosci 4, 803–812 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/90507
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