Glial cells in neuronal network function

Alfonso Araque, Marta Navarrete

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations

Abstract

Numerous evidence demonstrates that astrocytes, a type of glial cell, are integral functional elements of the synapses, responding to neuronal activity and regulating synaptic transmission and plasticity. Consequently, they are actively involved in the processing, transfer and storage of information by the nervous system, which challenges the accepted paradigm that brain function results exclusively from neuronal network activity, and suggests that nervous system function actually arises from the activity of neuron-glia networks. Most of our knowledge of the properties and physiological consequences of the bidirectional communication between astrocytes and neurons resides at cellular and molecular levels. In contrast, much less is known at higher level of complexity, i.e. networks of cells, and the actual impact of astrocytes in the neuronal network function remains largely unexplored. In the present article, we summarize the current evidence that supports the notion that astrocytes are integral components of nervous system networks and we discuss some functional properties of intercellular signalling in neuron-glia networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2375-2381
Number of pages7
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume365
Issue number1551
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 12 2010

Keywords

  • Astrocytes
  • Gliotransmitter release
  • Intracellular ca
  • Neuron-glia communication

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