Calcium waves in retinal glial cells

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337 Scopus citations


Calcium signals were recorded from glial cells in acutely isolated rat retina to determine whether Ca2+ waves occur in glial cells of intact central nervous system tissue. Chemical (adenosine triphosphate), electrical, and mechanical stimulation of astrocytes initiated increases in the intracellular concentration of Ca2+ that propagated at ~23 micrometers per second through astrocytes and Muller cells as intercellular waves. The Ca2+ waves persisted in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ but were largely abolished by thapsigargin and intracellular heparin, indicating that Ca2+ was released from intracellular stores. The waves did not evoke changes in cell membrane potential but traveled synchronously in astrocytes and Muller cells, suggesting a functional linkage between these two types of glial cells. Such glial Ca2+ waves may constitute an extraneuronal signaling pathway in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-845
Number of pages2
Issue number5301
StatePublished - Feb 7 1997

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