Astrocyte-induced modulation of synaptic transmission

Alfonso Araque, Rita P. Sanzgiri, Vladimir Parpura, Philip G. Haydon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


The idea that astrocytes simply provide structural and trophic support to neurons has been challenged by recent evidence demonstrating that astrocytes exhibit a form of excitability and communication based on intracellular Ca2+ variations and intercellular Ca2+ waves, which can be initiated by neuronal activity. These astrocyte Ca2+ variations have now been shown to induce glutamate-dependent Ca2+ elevations and slow inward currents in neurons. More recently, it has been demonstrated that synaptic transmission between cultured hippocampal neurons can be directly modulated by astrocytes. We have reported that astrocyte stimulation can increase the frequency of miniature synaptic currents. Furthermore, we also have demonstrated that an elevation in the intracellular Ca2+ in astrocytes induces a reduction in both excitatory and inhibitory evoked synaptic transmission through the activation of selective presynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-706
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1999


  • Astrocyte-neuron signaling
  • Calcium waves
  • Glutamate receptors
  • Neuronal electrical activity
  • Synaptic transmission


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