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.
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ABSTRACT: Vasomotion refers to spontaneous oscillation of small vessels observed in many microvascular beds. It is an intrinsic phenomenon unrelated to cardiac rhythm or neural and hormonal regulation. Vasomotion is found to be particularly prominent under conditions of metabolic stress. In spite of a significant existent literature on vasomotion, its physiological and pathophysiological roles are not clear. It is thought that modulation of vasomotion by vasoactive substances released by metabolizing tissue plays a role in ensuring optimal delivery of nutrients to the tissue. Vasomotion rhythms exhibit a great variety of temporal patterns from regular oscillations to chaos. The nature of vasomotion rhythm is believed to be significant to its function, with chaotic vasomotion offering several physiological advantages over regular, periodic vasomotion. In this article, we emphasize that vasomotion is best understood as a network phenomenon. When there is a local metabolic demand in tissue, an ideal vascular response should extend beyond local microvasculature, with coordinated changes over multiple vascular segments. Mechanisms of information transfer over a vessel network have been discussed in the literature. The microvascular system may be regarded as a network of dynamic elements, interacting, either over the vascular anatomical network via gap junctions, or physiologically by exchange of vasoactive substances. Drawing analogies with spatiotemporal patterns in neuronal networks of central nervous system, we ask if properties like synchronization/desynchronization of vasomotors have special significance to microcirculation. Thus the contemporary literature throws up a novel view of microcirculation as a network that exhibits complex, spatiotemporal and informational dynamics.Acta Physiologica 09/2010; 201(2):193-218. · 4.38 Impact Factor
Article: Astrocytes and energy metabolism.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Astrocytes are glial cells, which play a significant role in a number of processes, including the brain energy metabolism. Their anatomical position between blood vessels and neurons make them an interface for effective glucose uptake from blood. After entering astrocytes, glucose can be involved in different metabolic pathways, e.g. in glycogen production. Glycogen in the brain is localized mainly in astrocytes and is an important energy source in hypoxic conditions and normal brain functioning. The portion of glucose metabolized into glycogen molecules in astrocytes is as high as 40%. It is thought that the release of gliotransmitters (such as glutamate, neuroactive peptides and ATP) into the extracellular space by regulated exocytosis supports a significant part of communication between astrocytes and neurons. On the other hand, neurotransmitter action on astrocytes has a significant role in brain energy metabolism. Therefore, understanding the astrocytes energy metabolism may help understanding neuron-astrocyte interactions.Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry 01/2011; 117(2):64-9.
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ABSTRACT: Neuronal activity can stimulate an increase in astrocyte intracellular calcium concentration, which is propagated through neighboring astrocytes as a "calcium wave"; these calcium waves are accompanied by the release of glutamate. Sodium-dependent glutamate uptake leads to a secondary astrocytic sodium wave, accompanied by a wave of increased glucose uptake and metabolism. This metabolic wave may enable astrocytes to provide lactate as an energy source to neighboring active neurons and perhaps to distant neurons as well. Thus, one function of long-range intercellular calcium signaling in astrocytes may be to spatially coordinate their function in supporting neuronal metabolism.Science s STKE 03/2005; 2005(270):pe6.