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Astrocyte Ca2+-evoked ATP release regulates myelinated axon excitability and conduction speed

Lezmy, J; Arancibia-Cárcamo, IL; Quintela-López, T; Sherman, DL; Brophy, PJ; Attwell, D; (2021) Astrocyte Ca2+-evoked ATP release regulates myelinated axon excitability and conduction speed. Science , 374 (6565) , Article eabh2858. 10.1126/science.abh2858. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Astrocytes support neuronal function throughout the central nervous system. In the gray matter, they regulate synapse number during development, remove synaptically released neurotransmitters to terminate their action and prevent excitotoxicity, control the extracellular potassium concentration to prevent hyperexcitability, regulate blood flow to ensure an adequate energy supply, provide lactate to neurons for energy, and respond to rises of intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) by releasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and other gliotransmitters that act on neuronal receptors to modulate information processing. However, their role is unclear in the white matter, which transmits information rapidly between gray matter areas using axons wrapped with capacitance-reducing myelin (although they have been suggested to regulate myelination during development and during normal function). RATIONALE: Recently, it has been suggested that learning and memory may reflect not only changes in synaptic function in the gray matter, but also changes in white matter function. In particular, neural circuit function might be regulated by changes in the conduction speed of myelinated axons that result in an altered arrival time of action potentials at a distant neuron. These speed changes might be brought about by alterations of the properties of the passively conducting myelinated internodes or of the intervening excitable nodes of Ranvier, where the action potential is generated. We applied immunohistochemistry to assess how astrocytes interact with myelinated axons, neuronal stimulation and light-evoked calcium uncaging in astrocytes to evoke Ca2+-dependent release of gliotransmitters, and electrophysiology and pharmacology to characterize how astrocyte-released substances might affect the axon initial segment (AIS) and nodes of Ranvier of myelinated neurons. Measurements of conduction velocity and computer modeling allowed us to interpret the results. RESULTS: Astrocytes closely approach the axons of myelinated neurons in layer V of the cerebral cortex that enter the corpus callosum. Uncaging Ca2+ within astrocytes or stimulating spike trains in neurons evoked a rise of astrocyte [Ca2+]i that triggered the release of ATP-containing vesicles from these cells. This evoked an inward current in the AIS and nodes of Ranvier of the pyramidal neurons. Pharmacology showed that this was mediated by the activation of Gs-linked adenosine A2a receptors (A2aRs), implying that the released ATP was converted to adenosine by extracellular enzymes. The A2aRs raise the intracellular concentration of cyclic AMP, which activates hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide–gated (HCN) channels mediating the inward hyperpolarization-activated current (Ih) and thus depolarizes the cell. In the AIS, the activation of A2aRs alters excitability and hence action potential generation, whereas in the nodes of Ranvier, it decreases the conduction speed of the action potential along the axon. CONCLUSION: As in the gray matter, astrocyte [Ca2+]i regulates the release of ATP into the extracellular space in the white matter. After conversion to adenosine, this regulates the excitability and conduction speed of myelinated axons. The changes in excitability at the AIS will lead to changes in the relationship between the synaptic input and action potential output of the cell. The altered conduction speed of the myelinated axon may change neural circuit function by changing the action potential arrival time at the cell’s output synapses, thus altering the integration of signals in postsynaptic neurons. Variations in astrocyte-derived adenosine level can occur between wake and sleep states, and the extracellular adenosine concentration rises during energy deprivation conditions. These changes in adenosine level could thus control white matter information flow and neural circuit function.

Type: Article
Title: Astrocyte Ca2+-evoked ATP release regulates myelinated axon excitability and conduction speed
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1126/science.abh2858
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abh2858
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Action Potentials, Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Astrocytes, Axons, Calcium, Cortical Excitability, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Neural Conduction, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Rats, Sprague-Dawley
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 > UK Dementia Research Institute
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137594
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