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      Neural Circuit-Specialized Astrocytes: Transcriptomic, Proteomic, Morphological, and Functional Evidence.

      Neuron

      Elsevier BV

      Aldh1l1, Cre/ERT2, GCaMP, RNA-seq, astrocyte, calcium, diversity, hippocampus, proteomics, striatum

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          Abstract

          Astrocytes are ubiquitous in the brain and are widely held to be largely identical. However, this view has not been fully tested, and the possibility that astrocytes are neural circuit specialized remains largely unexplored. Here, we used multiple integrated approaches, including RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), mass spectrometry, electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, serial block-face-scanning electron microscopy, morphological reconstructions, pharmacogenetics, and diffusible dye, calcium, and glutamate imaging, to directly compare adult striatal and hippocampal astrocytes under identical conditions. We found significant differences in electrophysiological properties, Ca2+ signaling, morphology, and astrocyte-synapse proximity between striatal and hippocampal astrocytes. Unbiased evaluation of actively translated RNA and proteomic data confirmed significant astrocyte diversity between hippocampal and striatal circuits. We thus report core astrocyte properties, reveal evidence for specialized astrocytes within neural circuits, and provide new, integrated database resources and approaches to explore astrocyte diversity and function throughout the adult brain. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Interneuron cell types are fit to function.

          Understanding brain circuits begins with an appreciation of their component parts - the cells. Although GABAergic interneurons are a minority population within the brain, they are crucial for the control of inhibition. Determining the diversity of these interneurons has been a central goal of neurobiologists, but this amazing cell type has so far defied a generalized classification system. Interneuron complexity within the telencephalon could be simplified by viewing them as elaborations of a much more finite group of developmentally specified cardinal classes that become further specialized as they mature. Our perspective emphasizes that the ultimate goal is to dispense with classification criteria and directly define interneuron types by function.
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            DREADDs for Neuroscientists.

             Bryan Roth (2016)
            To understand brain function, it is essential that we discover how cellular signaling specifies normal and pathological brain function. In this regard, chemogenetic technologies represent valuable platforms for manipulating neuronal and non-neuronal signal transduction in a cell-type-specific fashion in freely moving animals. Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADD)-based chemogenetic tools are now commonly used by neuroscientists to identify the circuitry and cellular signals that specify behavior, perceptions, emotions, innate drives, and motor functions in species ranging from flies to nonhuman primates. Here I provide a primer on DREADDs highlighting key technical and conceptual considerations and identify challenges for chemogenetics going forward.
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              Diversity of astrocyte functions and phenotypes in neural circuits.

              Astrocytes tile the entire CNS. They are vital for neural circuit function, but have traditionally been viewed as simple, homogenous cells that serve the same essential supportive roles everywhere. Here, we summarize breakthroughs that instead indicate that astrocytes represent a population of complex and functionally diverse cells. Physiological diversity of astrocytes is apparent between different brain circuits and microcircuits, and individual astrocytes display diverse signaling in subcellular compartments. With respect to injury and disease, astrocytes undergo diverse phenotypic changes that may be protective or causative with regard to pathology in a context-dependent manner. These new insights herald the concept that astrocytes represent a diverse population of genetically tractable cells that mediate neural circuit-specific roles in health and disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                28712653
                10.1016/j.neuron.2017.06.029
                5811312

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