Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurophysiol. 2019 May 1;121(5):1822-1830. doi: 10.1152/jn.00279.2018. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

Astrocytic modulation of glutamatergic synaptic transmission is reduced in NTS of rats submitted to short-term sustained hypoxia.

Author information

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo , Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo , Brazil.


Sustained hypoxia (SH) activates chemoreceptors to produce cardiovascular and respiratory responses to bring the arterial partial pressure of O2 back to the physiological range. We evaluated the effect of SH (fraction of inspired O2 = 0.10, 24 h) on glutamatergic synaptic transmission and the interaction neuron-astrocyte in neurons of the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS). Tractus solitarius (TS) fiber stimulation induced glutamatergic currents in neurons and astrocytes. SH increased α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid/kainate (AMPA/kainate) [-183 ± 122 pA (n = 10) vs. -353 ± 101 pA (n = 10)] and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) current amplitude [61 ± 10 pA (n = 7) vs. 102 ± 37 pA (n = 10)]. To investigate the effects of SH, we used fluoroacetate (FAC), an astrocytic inhibitor, which revealed an excitatory modulation on AMPA/kainate current and an inhibitory modulation of NMDA current in control rats. SH blunted the astrocytic modulation of AMPA [artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF): -353 ± 101 pA vs. aCSF + FAC: -369 ± 76 pA (n = 10)] and NMDA currents [aCSF: 102 ± 37 pA vs. aCSF + FAC: 108 ± 32 pA (n = 10)]. SH increased AMPA current density [control: -6 ± 3.5 pA/pF (n = 6) vs. SH: -20 ± 12 pA/pF (n = 7)], suggesting changes in density, conductance, or affinity of AMPA receptors. SH produced no effect on astrocytic resting membrane potential, input resistance, and AMPA/kainate current. We conclude that SH decreased the neuron-astrocyte interaction at the NTS level, facilitating the glutamatergic transmission, which may contribute to the enhancement of cardiovascular and respiratory responses to baro- and chemoreflexes activation in SH rats. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Using an electrophysiological approach, we have shown that in nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) from control rats, astrocytes modulate the AMPA and NMDA currents in NTS neurons, changing their excitability. Sustained hypoxia (SH) increased both glutamatergic currents in NTS neurons due to 1) a reduction in the astrocytic modulation and 2) an increase in the density of AMPA receptors. These new findings show the importance of neuron-astrocyte modulation in the excitatory synaptic transmission in NTS of control and SH rats.


NTS; astrocyte; glutamate receptors; synaptic transmission


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center