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Neuron. 2008 Sep 25;59(6):932-46. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.09.004.

What is the role of astrocyte calcium in neurophysiology?

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, 1004 Mary Ellen Jones Building CB #7365, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7365, USA.

Abstract

Astrocytes comprise approximately half of the volume of the adult mammalian brain and are the primary neuronal structural and trophic supportive elements. Astrocytes are organized into distinct nonoverlapping domains and extend elaborate and dense fine processes that interact intimately with synapses and cerebrovasculature. The recognition in the mid 1990s that astrocytes undergo elevations in intracellular calcium concentration following activation of G protein-coupled receptors by synaptically released neurotransmitters demonstrated not only that astrocytes display a form of excitability but also that astrocytes may be active participants in brain information processing. The roles that astrocytic calcium elevations play in neurophysiology and especially in modulation of neuronal activity have been intensely researched in recent years. This review will summarize the current understanding of the function of astrocytic calcium signaling in neurophysiological processes and discuss areas where the role of astrocytes remains controversial and will therefore benefit from further study.

PMID:
18817732
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3623689
Free PMC Article

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