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J Neurosci. 2000 Apr 15;20(8):2835-44.

ATP-mediated glia signaling.

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York 10595, USA.


Glia calcium signaling has recently been identified as a potent modulator of synaptic transmission. We show here that the spatial expansion of calcium waves is mediated by ATP and subsequent activation of purinergic receptors. Ectopic expression of gap junction proteins, connexins (Cxs), leads to an increase in both ATP release and the radius of calcium wave propagation. Cx expression was also associated with a phenotypic transformation, and cortical neurons extended longer neurites when co-cultured with Cx-expressing than with Cx-deficient cells. Purinergic receptor activation mediated both these effects, because treatment with receptor antagonists restored the glia phenotype and slowed neurite outgrowth. These results identify a key role of ATP in both short-term calcium signaling events and in long-term differentiation regulated by glia.

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