Sustained neuronal activity generated by glial plasticity


Astrocytes release gliotransmitters, notably glutamate, that can affect neuronal and synaptic activity. In particular, astrocytic glutamate release results in the generation of NMDA receptor (NMDA-R)-mediated slow inward currents (SICs) in neurons. However, factors underlying the emergence of SICs and their physiological roles are essentially unknown. Here we show that, in acute slices of rat somatosensory thalamus, stimulation of lemniscal or cortical afferents results in a sustained increase of SICs in thalamocortical (TC) neurons that outlasts the duration of the stimulus by 1 h. This long-term enhancement of astrocytic glutamate release is induced by group I metabotropic glutamate receptors and is dependent on astrocytic intracellular calcium. Neuronal SICs are mediated by extrasynaptic NR2B subunit-containing NMDA-Rs and are capable of eliciting bursts. These are distinct from T-type Ca2+ channel-dependent bursts of action potentials and are synchronized in neighboring TC neurons. These findings describe a previously unrecognized form of excitatory, nonsynaptic plasticity in the CNS that feeds forward to generate local neuronal firing long after stimulus termination.

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Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Pharmacy School
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
Additional Information: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Uncontrolled Keywords: action potentials,afferent pathways,animals,male,neuroglia,neuronal plasticity,neurons,rats,Wistar rats,time factors,Neuroscience(all)
Publication ISSN: 1529-2401
Last Modified: 01 May 2024 07:09
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2012 10:17
Full Text Link: http://www.jneu ... 1/7637.abstract
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2011-05-25
Authors: Pirttimaki, Tiina
Hall, Stephen
Parri, Harri (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1412-2688)


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