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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2014 Oct 19;369(1654):20130609. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0609.

GABAergic interneuron to astrocyte signalling: a neglected form of cell communication in the brain.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Science, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Neuroscience Institute and University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
2
Department of Biomedical Science, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Neuroscience Institute and University of Padova, Padova, Italy gcarmi@bio.unipd.it.

Abstract

GABAergic interneurons represent a minority of all cortical neurons and yet they efficiently control neural network activities in all brain areas. In parallel, glial cell astrocytes exert a broad control of brain tissue homeostasis and metabolism, modulate synaptic transmission and contribute to brain information processing in a dynamic interaction with neurons that is finely regulated in time and space. As most studies have focused on glutamatergic neurons and excitatory transmission, our knowledge of functional interactions between GABAergic interneurons and astrocytes is largely defective. Here, we critically discuss the currently available literature that hints at a potential relevance of this specific signalling in brain function. Astrocytes can respond to GABA through different mechanisms that include GABA receptors and transporters. GABA-activated astrocytes can, in turn, modulate local neuronal activity by releasing gliotransmitters including glutamate and ATP. In addition, astrocyte activation by different signals can modulate GABAergic neurotransmission. Full clarification of the reciprocal signalling between different GABAergic interneurons and astrocytes will improve our understanding of brain network complexity and has the potential to unveil novel therapeutic strategies for brain disorders.

KEYWORDS:

GABA; astrocytes; interneurons

PMID:
25225102
PMCID:
PMC4173294
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2013.0609
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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