Alfonso Araque

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According to the classical view of the nervous system, the numerically superior glial cells have inferior roles in that they provide an ideal environment for neuronal-cell function. However, there is a wave of new information suggesting that glia are intimately involved in the active control of neuronal activity and synaptic neurotransmission. Recent(More)
The term 'tripartite synapse' refers to a concept in synaptic physiology based on the demonstration of the existence of bidirectional communication between astrocytes and neurons. Consistent with this concept, in addition to the classic 'bipartite' information flow between the pre- and postsynaptic neurons, astrocytes exchange information with the synaptic(More)
The idea that astrocytes merely provide structural and trophic support for neurons has been challenged by the demonstration that astrocytes can regulate neuronal calcium levels. However, the physiological consequences of astrocyte-neuron signalling are unknown. Using mixed cultures of rat hippocampal astrocytes and neurons we have determined functional(More)
Astrocytes play active roles in brain physiology. They respond to neurotransmitters and modulate neuronal excitability and synaptic function. However, the influence of astrocytes on synaptic transmission and plasticity at the single synapse level is unknown. Ca(2+) elevation in astrocytes transiently increased the probability of transmitter release at(More)
Astrocytes exhibit a form of excitability and communication on the basis of intracellular Ca2+ variations (Cornell-Bell et al., 1990; Charles et al., 1991) that can be initiated by neuronal activity (Dani et al., 1992; Porter and McCarthy, 1996). A Ca2+ elevation in astrocytes induces the release of glutamate (Parpura et al., 1994; Pasti et al., 1997;(More)
The synaptic control of the astrocytic intracellular Ca2+ is crucial in the reciprocal astrocyte-neuron communication. Using electrophysiological and Ca2+ imaging techniques in rat hippocampal slices, we investigated the astrocytic Ca2+ signal modulation induced by synaptic terminals that use glutamate and acetylcholine. Ca2+ elevations were evoked by(More)
Astrocytes, a sub-type of glia in the central nervous system, are dynamic signaling elements that integrate neuronal inputs, exhibit calcium excitability, and can modulate neighboring neurons. Neuronal activity can lead to neurotransmitter-evoked activation of astrocytic receptors, which mobilizes their internal calcium. Elevations in astrocytic calcium in(More)
Endocannabinoids and their receptor CB1 play key roles in brain function. Astrocytes express CB1Rs that are activated by endocannabinoids released by neurons. However, the consequences of the endocannabinoid-mediated neuron-astrocyte signaling on synaptic transmission are unknown. We show that endocannabinoids released by hippocampal pyramidal neurons(More)
We investigated the cellular mechanisms underlying the Ca(2+)-dependent release of glutamate from cultured astrocytes isolated from rat hippocampus. Using Ca(2+) imaging and electrophysiological techniques, we analyzed the effects of disrupting astrocytic vesicle proteins on the ability of astrocytes to release glutamate and to cause neuronal(More)