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Mechanosensory signalling in astrocytes

Turovsky, EA; Braga, A; Yu, Y; Esteras, N; Korsak, A; Theparambil, SM; Hadjihambi, A; ... Gourine, AV; + view all (2020) Mechanosensory signalling in astrocytes. Journal of Neuroscience 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1249-20.2020. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Mechanosensitivity is a well-known feature of astrocytes, however, its underlying mechanisms and functional significance remain unclear. There is evidence that astrocytes are acutely sensitive to decreases in cerebral perfusion pressure and may function as intracranial baroreceptors, tuned to monitor brain blood flow. This study investigated the mechanosensory signalling in brainstem astrocytes, as these cells reside alongside the cardiovascular control circuits and mediate increases in blood pressure and heart rate induced by falls in brain perfusion. It was found that mechanical stimulation-evoked Ca2+ responses in astrocytes of the rat brainstem were blocked by (i) antagonists of connexin channels, connexin 43 (Cx43) blocking peptide Gap26, or Cx43 gene knockdown; (ii) antagonists of TRPV4 channels; (iii) antagonist of P2Y1 receptors for ATP; and (iv) inhibitors of phospholipase C or IP3 receptors. Proximity ligation assay demonstrated interaction between TRPV4 and Cx43 channels in astrocytes. Dye loading experiments showed that mechanical stimulation increased open probability of carboxyfluorescein-permeable membrane channels. These data suggest that mechanosensory Ca2+ responses in astrocytes are mediated by interaction between TRPV4 and Cx43 channels, leading to Cx43-mediated release of ATP which propagates/amplifies Ca2+ signals via P2Y1 receptors and Ca2+ recruitment from the intracellular stores. In astrocyte-specific Cx43 knockout mice the magnitude of heart rate responses to acute increases in intracranial pressure was not affected by Cx43 deficiency. However, these animals displayed lower heart rates at different levels of cerebral perfusion, supporting the hypothesis of connexin hemichannel-mediated release of signalling molecules by astrocytes having an excitatory action on the CNS sympathetic control circuits.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTThere is evidence suggesting that astrocytes may function as intracranial baroreceptors that play an important role in the control of systemic and cerebral circulation. To function as intracranial baroreceptors, astrocytes must possess a specialized membrane mechanism that makes them exquisitely sensitive to mechanical stimuli. This study shows that opening of connexin 43 hemichannels leading to the release of ATP is the key central event underlying mechanosensory Ca2+ responses in astrocytes. This astroglial mechanism plays an important role in the autonomic control of heart rate. These data add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that astrocytes function as versatile surveyors of the CNS metabolic milieu, tuned to detect conditions of potential metabolic threat, such as hypoxia, hypercapnia and reduced perfusion.

Type: Article
Title: Mechanosensory signalling in astrocytes
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1249-20.2020
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1249-20.2020
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Department of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Department of Imaging
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Experimental and Translational Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113783
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