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Commun Integr Biol. 2012 May 1;5(3):248-54. doi: 10.4161/cib.19410.

Astroglial gap junctions shape neuronal network activity.

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1
Neuroglial Interactions in Cerebral Physiopathology; Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology; Collège de France; CNRS UMR7241; INSERM U1050; Paris, France.

Abstract

Astrocytes, the third element of the tripartite synapse, are active players in neurotransmission. Up to now, their involvement in neuronal functions has primarily been investigated at the single cell level. However, a key property of astrocytes is that they communicate via extensive networks formed by gap junction channels. Recently, we have shown that this networking modulates the moment to moment basal synaptic transmission and plasticity via the regulation of extracellular potassium and glutamate levels. Here we show that astroglial gap junctional communication also regulates neuronal network activity. We discuss these findings and their implications for brain information processing.

KEYWORDS:

astrocytes; connexins; gap junctions; hippocampus; neuroglial interactions; neuronal network activity

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