Spontaneous astrocytic Ca2+ oscillations in situ drive NMDAR-mediated neuronal excitation

H. Rheinalt Parri, Timothy M. Gould, Vincenzo Crunelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Astrocytes respond to chemical, electrical and mechanical stimuli with transient increases in intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). We now show that astrocytes in situ display intrinsic [Ca2+]i oscillations that are not driven by neuronal activity. These spontaneous astrocytic oscillations can propagate as waves to neighboring astrocytes and trigger slowly decaying NMDA receptor-mediated inward currents in neurons located along the wave path. These findings show that astrocytes in situ can act as a primary source for generating neuronal activity in the mammalian central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-812
Number of pages10
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2001


  • Vimentin
  • thalamus
  • astrocytes
  • biological clocks
  • calcium channel blockers
  • calcium signaling
  • central nervous system
  • enzyme inhibitors
  • excitatory amino acid antagonists
  • GABA antagonists
  • immunohistochemistry
  • isoquinolines
  • lysine
  • magnesium
  • membrane potentials
  • neurons
  • patch-clamp techniques
  • tetrodotoxin
  • N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptors
  • synaptic transmission


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