Diversity and Specificity of Astrocyte–neuron Communication

Caitlin A. Durkee, Alfonso Araque

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


Astrocytes are emerging as important players in synaptic function, and, consequently, on brain function and animal behavior. According to the Tripartite Synapse concept, astrocytes are integral elements involved in synaptic function. They establish bidirectional communication with neurons, whereby they respond to synaptically released neurotransmitters and, in turn, release gliotransmitters that influence neuronal and synaptic activity. Accumulating evidence is revealing that the mechanisms and functional consequences of astrocyte–neuron signaling are more complex than originally thought. Furthermore, astrocyte–neuron signaling is not based on broad, unspecific interaction; rather, it is a synapse-, cell- and circuit-specific phenomenon that presents a high degree of complexity. This diversity and complexity of astrocyte–synapse interactions greatly enhance the degrees of freedom of the neural circuits and the consequent computational power of the neural systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Work supported by NIH-NINDS (Grants #: R01NS097312, R01NS100831, R01NS108686) and Human Frontier Science Program (Research Grant RGP0036/2014 ) to A.A.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 IBRO


  • astrocytes
  • astrocyte–neuron signaling
  • glia
  • gliotransmission
  • synaptic plasticity
  • synaptic transmission


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