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Spatial Separation of Two Different Pathways Accounting for the Generation of Calcium Signals in Astrocytes
Citation key Oschmann2017
Author Oschmann, F., and Mergenthaler, K., and Jungnickel, E., and Obermayer, K.
Year 2017
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005377
Journal PLoS Computational Biology
Volume 13
Number 2
Abstract Astrocytes integrate and process synaptic information and exhibit calcium (Ca2+) signals in response to incoming information from neighboring synapses. The generation of Ca2+ signals is mostly attributed to Ca2+ release from internal Ca2+ stores evoked by an elevated metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activity. Different experimental results associated the generation of Ca2+ signals to the activity of the glutamate transporter (GluT). The GluT itself does not influence the intracellular Ca2+ concentration, but it indirectly activates Ca2+ entry over the membrane. A closer look into Ca2+ signaling in different astrocytic compartments revealed a spatial separation of those two pathways. Ca2+ signals in the soma are mainly generated by Ca2+ release from internal Ca2+ stores (mGluR-dependent pathway). In astrocytic compartments close to the synapse most Ca2+ signals are evoked by Ca2+ entry over the plasma membrane (GluT-dependent pathway). This assumption is supported by the finding, that the volume ratio between the internal Ca2+ store and the intracellular space decreases from the soma towards the synapse. We extended a model for mGluR-dependent Ca2+ signals in astrocytes with the GluT-dependent pathway. Additionally, we included the volume ratio between the internal Ca2+ store and the intracellular compartment into the model in order to analyze Ca2+ signals either in the soma or close to the synapse. Our model results confirm the spatial separation of the mGluR- and GluT-dependent pathways along the astrocytic process. The model allows to study the binary Ca2+ response during a block of either of both pathways. Moreover, the model contributes to a better understanding of the impact of channel densities on the interaction of both pathways and on the Ca2+ signal.
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