Calcium signaling in specialized glial cells

Monica R. Metea, Eric A. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


This article reviews calcium signaling in three specialized types of glial cells: Müller cells of the retina, Bergmann glial cells of the cerebellum, and radial glial cells of the developing cortex. Müller cells generate spontaneous and neuronal activity-evoked increases in Ca2+. Neuron to Müller cell signaling is mediated by neuronal release of ATP and activation of glial P2Y receptors. Müller cells, in turn, modulate neuronal excitability and mediate vasomotor responses. Bergmann glial cells also generate spontaneous and activity-evoked Ca2+ increases. Neuron to Bergmann glia signaling is mediated by neuronal release of nitric oxide, noradrenaline, and glutamate. In Bergmann glia, Ca2+ increases control the structural and functional interactions between these cells and Purkinje cell synapses. In the ventricular zone of the developing cortex, radial glial cells generate spontaneous Ca2+ increases that propagate as Ca2+ waves through clusters of neighboring glial cells. These Ca 2+ increases control cell proliferation and neurogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-655
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 15 2006


  • Bergmann glia
  • Calcium
  • Glia
  • Müller cell
  • Radial glia


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