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Physiology (Bethesda). 2006 Jun;21:208-15.

Astrocytes coordinate synaptic networks: balanced excitation and inhibition.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Silvio Conte Center for Integration at the Tripartite Synapse, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Although neurons are essential for brain function, an emerging alternative view holds that astrocytes, the dominant glial cell type, coordinate synaptic networks. Through the release of glutamate, astrocytes locally excite neurons, and via adenosine, which accumulates due to the hydrolysis of released ATP, astrocytes suppress distant synapses.

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