Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Astrocytes are heterogeneous population of neural cells with diverse structural, functional and molecular characteristics responsible for homeostasis and protection of the central nervous system (CNS). Unlike neurones, astrocytes do not generate action potentials, but employ fluctuations of cytosolic ions as a substrate for their excitability. Ionic signals are associated with neuronal activity and these signals initiate an array of responses ranging from the activation of plasmalemmal homeostatic transporters to the secretion of numerous signalling molecules including neuromodulators, neurotransmitter precursors, metabolic substrates, trophic factors and cytokines. Thus, astrocytes regulate the synaptic connectivity of the neuronal networks by supporting neurotransmitter metabolism, synaptogenesis, synaptic elimination and synaptic plasticity contributing to cognitive processing including learning, memory, emotions and behaviour. Astroglia-specific regulatory pathways affect the most fundamental properties of neuronal networks from their excitability to synaptic connectivity. Thus, it is the concerted action of glia and neurones, which, by employing distinct mechanisms, produce behavioural outputs of the ultimate control centre that we call the brain.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.07.039

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neurosci Biobehav Rev

Publication Date

05/08/2020

Keywords

Astrocyte, Behaviour, Cognition, Learning and memory, Synaptic connectivity, Synaptic elimination, Synaptic plasticity, Synaptogenesis