Astrocytes and Behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Animal behavior was classically considered to be determined exclusively by neuronal activity, whereas surrounding glial cells such as astrocytes played only supportive roles. However, astrocytes are as numerous as neurons in the mammalian brain, and current findings indicate a chemically based dialog between astrocytes and neurons. Activation of astrocytes by synaptically released neurotransmitters converges on regulating intracellular Ca 2+ in astrocytes, which then can regulate the efficacy of near and distant tripartite synapses at diverse timescales through gliotransmitter release. Here, we discuss recent evidence on how diverse behaviors are impacted by this dialog. These recent findings support a paradigm shift in neuroscience, in which animal behavior does not result exclusively from neuronal activity but from the coordinated activity of both astrocytes and neurons. Decoding how astrocytes and neurons interact with each other in various brain circuits will be fundamental to fully understanding how behaviors originate and become dysregulated in disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-67
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual review of neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 8 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Annual Reviews Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • astrocytes
  • behavior
  • Ca2+ signaling
  • glia
  • gliotransmission
  • tripartite synapse

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


Dive into the research topics of 'Astrocytes and Behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this