Astroglial calcium signalling: what it could tell us

Published on June 29, 2022   33 min

Other Talks in the Category: Neuroscience

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Today we'll talk about astroglial calcium signalling and what it could actually tell us.
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A brief reminder. Among brain glia, astroglia are the most abundant type of cells, which have long been associated with their classical roles: Rapid uptake of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate via high affinity transporters, buffering external potassium that rises upon neural activity, enabling the brain-blood-barrier.
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Couple of things to remember about astroglia. Nanoscopic astroglia protrusions can closely approach excitatory synapses, which has been shown by 3D EM for instance. If you look at the astroglia fragment and adjacent dendritic spines with postsynaptic density, this is what it looks like, a fragment of astroglia plus dendritic spines minus astroglia, just to give you an idea of what happens in 3D.
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Other reminders are that individual astrocytes occupy separate spatial domains, overlapping very little by 5, 10 percent perhaps. Each neuron is approached by many astroglia, and each astrocyte covers processes of many neurons.
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Also, astrocytes are widely connected through gap junctions. If you patch an individual astroglia with a bright morphological tracer, like Alexa Fluor, you can see plenty of gap junction-connected cells because Alexa goes through gap junctions. These gap junctions are built by connexin proteins.
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Astroglial calcium signalling: what it could tell us

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