A part of a book.
Chapter: chapter ou part
Gliotransmission and the tripartite synapse.
Title of the book
Synaptic plasticity : dynamics, development and disease
Address of publication
Kreutz M.R., Sla C.
Advances in Experimental Medecine and Biology
In the last years, the classical view of glial cells (in particular of astrocytes) as a simple supportive cell for neurons has been replaced by a new vision in which glial cells are active elements of the brain. Such a new vision is based on the existence of a bidirectional communication between astrocytes and neurons at synaptic level. Indeed, perisynaptic processes of astrocytes express active G-protein-coupled receptors that are able (1) to sense neurotransmitters released from the synapse during synaptic activity, (2) to increase cytosolic levels of calcium, and (3) to stimulate the release of gliotransmitters that in turn can interact with the synaptic elements. The mechanism(s) by which astrocytes can release gliotransmitter has been extensively studied during the last years. Many evidences have suggested that a fraction of astrocytes in situ release neuroactive substances both with calcium-dependent and calcium-independent mechanism(s); whether these mechanisms coexist and under what physiological or pathological conditions they occur, it remains unclear. However, the calcium-dependent exocytotic vesicular release has received considerable attention due to its potential to occur under physiological conditions via a finely regulated way. By releasing gliotransmitters in millisecond time scale with a specific vesicular apparatus, astrocytes can integrate and process synaptic information and control or modulate synaptic transmission and plasticity.
Astrocytes, D-serine, Exocytosis, Extrasynaptic NMDA-receptors, Gliotransmitters
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