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Sci Signal. 2010 Nov 9;3(147):tr5. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.3147tr5.

Visualizing calcium signaling in astrocytes.

Author information

1
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Building 35, Room 2A211, MSC3713, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. fieldsd@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Astrocytes are nonneuronal cells in the brain (glia) that do not generate electrical impulses but communicate by chemical signaling. This communication can be observed under a microscope with fluorescent calcium indicators that glow more brightly when the concentration of calcium increases inside the cell. Astrocytes release adenosine 5'-triphosphate and other cell signaling molecules that excite membrane receptors on other astrocytes to cause an increase in intracellular calcium in the recipient cell. Many of the substances released by astrocytes also excite neurons, and astrocytes have on their own cell membrane many of the same neurotransmitter receptors used by neurons to communicate across synapses. This allows astrocytes to respond to neural impulse activity, communicate among other astrocytes, and influence neuronal communication by taking up or releasing neurotransmitters from synapses.

PMID:
21062994
PMCID:
PMC5017150
DOI:
10.1126/scisignal.3147tr5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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