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Astrocytes shape the plastic response of adult cortical neurons to vision loss

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Astrocytes are vital for preserving correct brain functioning by continuously sustaining neuronal activity and survival. They are in contact with multiple synapses at once allowing the expansion of local synaptic events into activity changes in neuronal networks. Furthermore, cortical astrocytes integrate local sensory inputs and behavioral state. From an anatomical, molecular and functional perspective, astrocytes are thus ideal candidates to influence complex large-scale brain mechanisms such as plasticity. We collected evidence for the astrocytic potential for plasticity modulation, using the monocular enucleation (ME) mouse model of visual cortex plasticity. The impact of one-eyed vision involves the functional recruitment of the deprived visual cortex by the spared senses within a 7-week time frame, reflecting a substantial change in sensory information processing. In visually deprived cortex a swift upregulation in Aldh1l1-positive astrocyte density lasts until maximal functional recovery is reached. Transient metabolic silencing of visual cortex astrocytes at the time of ME induction, through intracranial fluorocitrate injections, reveals that astrocytes are required on site to achieve adequate long-term neuronal reactivation. In addition, chronic stimulation by Gi but not Gq GPCR activation of local astrocytes boosts the cortical plasticity phenomenon. Hence, functional manipulation of protoplasmic astrocytes has long-lasting effects on the functional recovery of cortical neurons upon sensory loss, possibly by influencing the neuronal threshold to reactivate. Together, our results highlight an integral role for astrocytes in mediating adult cortical plasticity and unmask astrocyte specific Gi signaling as an interesting therapeutic pathway for brain plasticity regulation.
Tijdschrift: Glia
ISSN: 0894-1491
Issue: 10
Volume: 68
Pagina's: 2102 - 2118
Jaar van publicatie:2020
Trefwoorden:Neurowetenschappen en Psychofarmacologie