Volume transmission signalling via astrocytes

Hajime Hirase, Youichi Iwai, Norio Takata, Yoshiaki Shinohara, Tsuneko Mishima

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of astrocytes on synaptic function has been increasingly studied, owing to the discovery of both gliotransmission and morphological ensheathment of synapses. While astrocytes exhibit at best modest membrane potential fluctuations, activation of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) leads to a prominent elevation of intracellular calcium which has been reported to correlate with gliotransmission. In this review, the possible role of astrocytic GPCR activation is discussed as a trigger to promote synaptic plasticity, by affecting synaptic receptors through gliotransmitters. Moreover, we suggest that volume transmission of neuromodulators could be a biological mechanism to activate astrocytic GPCRs and thereby to switch synaptic networks to the plastic mode during states of attention in cerebral cortical structures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1654
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 19


  • Acetylcholine
  • D-serine
  • Gamma oscillations
  • Gq signalling
  • IP receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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