Astrocyte-mediated control of cerebral microcirculation
ABSTRACT Characterization of astrocyte Ca2+ dynamics has been a topic of considerable emphasis for more than a decade. Only recently, however, has the physiological significance of astrocyte Ca2+ signaling started to become clear. Several studies have shown that astrocyte Ca2+ levels become elevated in response to neuronal input and that this, in turn, influences synaptic activity. A novel function of astrocyte Ca2+ signaling has been described by Zonta et al., whereby neuron-induced astrocyte Ca2+ elevations can lead to secretion of vasodilatory substances from perivascular astrocyte endfeet, resulting in improved local blood flow. This finding represents a breakthrough in our knowledge both of astrocyte function and of the mechanism of activity-dependent cerebral blood flow regulation.
SourceAvailable from: Xavier F Figueroa[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Neuronal activity must be tightly coordinated with blood flow to keep proper brain function, which is achieved by a mechanism known as neurovascular coupling. Then, an increase in synaptic activity leads to a dilation of local parenchymal arterioles that matches the enhanced metabolic demand. Neurovascular coupling is orchestrated by astrocytes. These glial cells are located between neurons and the microvasculature, with the astrocytic endfeet ensheathing the vessels, which allows fine intercellular communication. The neurotransmitters released during neuronal activity reach astrocytic receptors and trigger a Ca(2+) signaling that propagates to the endfeet, activating the release of vasoactive factors and arteriolar dilation. The astrocyte Ca(2+) signaling is coordinated by gap junction channels and hemichannels formed by connexins (Cx43 and Cx30) and channels formed by pannexins (Panx-1). The neuronal activity-initiated Ca(2+) waves are propagated among neighboring astrocytes directly via gap junctions or through ATP release via connexin hemichannels or pannexin channels. In addition, Ca(2+) entry via connexin hemichannels or pannexin channels may participate in the regulation of the astrocyte signaling-mediated neurovascular coupling. Interestingly, nitric oxide (NO) can activate connexin hemichannel by S-nitrosylation and the Ca(2+)-dependent NO-synthesizing enzymes endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) and neuronal NOS (nNOS) are expressed in astrocytes. Therefore, the astrocytic Ca(2+) signaling triggered in neurovascular coupling may activate NO production, which, in turn, may lead to Ca(2+) influx through hemichannel activation. Furthermore, NO release from the hemichannels located at astrocytic endfeet may contribute to the vasodilation of parenchymal arterioles. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms involved in the regulation of the astrocytic Ca(2+) signaling that mediates neurovascular coupling, with a special emphasis in the possible participation of NO in this process.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 01/2015; 9:59. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2015.00059 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Vesicles are small intracellular organelles that are fundamental for constitutive housekeeping of the plasmalemma, intercellular transport and cell-to-cell communications. In astroglial cells traffic of vesicles is associated with cell morphology, which determines the signaling potential and metabolic support for neighboring cells, including when these cells are considered to be used for cell transplantations, or for regulating neurogenesis. Moreover, vesicles are used in astrocytes for the release of vesicle-laden chemical messengers. Here we review the properties of membrane-bound vesicles that store gliotransmitters , endolysosomes that are involved in the traffic of plasma membrane receptors and membrane transporters . These vesicles are all linked to pathological states including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, neuroinflammation, trauma, edema, and states in which astrocytes contribute to developmental disorders. In multiple sclerosis, for example, fingolimod, a recently introduced drug, apparently also affects vesicle traffic and gliotransmitter release from astrocytes, indicating that this process may well be used as a new pathophysiologic target for the development of new therapies.Cell Transplantation 03/2015; 24(4). DOI:10.3727/096368915X687750 · 3.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In CNS lesions, "reactive astrocytes" form a prominent cellular response. However, the nature of this astrocyte immune activity is not well understood. In order to study astrocytic immune responses to inflammation and injury, we generated mice with conditional deletion of p38α (MAPK14) in GFAP+ astrocytes. We studied the role of p38α signaling in astrocyte immune activation both in vitro and in vivo, and simultaneously examined the effects of astrocyte activation in CNS inflammation. Our results showed that specific subsets of cytokines (TNFα, IL-6) and chemokines (CCL2, CCL4, CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL10) are critically regulated by p38α signaling in astrocytes. In an in vivo CNS inflammation model of intracerebral injection of LPS, we observed markedly attenuated astrogliosis in conditional GFAPcre p38α(-/-) mice. However, GFAPcre p38α(-/-) mice showed marked upregulation of CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CXCL2, CXCL10, TNFα, and IL-1β compared to p38αfl/fl cohorts, suggesting that in vivo responses to LPS after GFAPcre p38α deletion are complex and involve interactions between multiple cell types. This finding was supported by a prominent increase in macrophage/microglia and neutrophil recruitment in GFAPcre p38α(-/-) mice compared to p38αfl/fl controls. Together, these studies provide important insights into the critical role of p38α signaling in astrocyte immune activation.Scientific Reports 12/2014; 4:7405. DOI:10.1038/srep07405 · 5.08 Impact Factor