Glia: they make your memories stick!

Jaideep S. Bains, Stéphane H.R. Oliet
Trends in Neurosciences. 2007-08-01; 30(8): 417-424
DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2007.06.007

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1. Trends Neurosci. 2007 Aug;30(8):417-24. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Glia: they make your memories stick!

Bains JS(1), Oliet SH.

Author information:
(1)Department of Physiology & Biophysics, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University
of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Synaptic plasticity underlies higher brain functions such as learning and memory.
At glutamatergic synapses in the vertebrate central nervous system, plasticity
usually requires changes in the number of postsynaptic AMPA receptors. Recently,
several studies have revealed that glial cells play an important role in
regulating postsynaptic AMPA receptor density. This is accomplished through the
release of gliotransmitters such as D-serine, ATP and TNF-alpha. More
specifically, the availability of D-serine, the endogenous co-agonist of
N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in many brain areas, governs the induction of
long-term potentiation and long-term depression. Meanwhile, ATP and TNF-alpha
trigger long-lasting increases in synaptic strength at glutamatergic hypothalamic
and hippocampal inputs, respectively, through mechanisms that promote AMPA
receptor insertion in the absence of coincident presynaptic and postsynaptic
activity. These data clearly demonstrate a vital role for glia in plasticity and
argue that their contributions to brain function extend well beyond their
outdated role as cellular ‘glue’.

DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2007.06.007
PMID: 17631972 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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