Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 121–125

Roles for gliotransmission in the nervous system

  • Q. Zhang
  • P. G. Haydon

DOI: 10.1007/s00702-004-0119-x

Cite this article as:
Zhang, Q. & Haydon, P. J Neural Transm (2005) 112: 121. doi:10.1007/s00702-004-0119-x


Astrocytes were long referred to as passive cells in the central nervous system (CNS). However, the application of fluorescent Ca2+ indicators revealed their “Ca2+ excitability” in response to a variety of stimuli. Since then, evidence showing that astrocytes release chemical transmitters and can modulate synapses has led to a new integrative view of the astrocyte. While it is inarguable that astrocytes play essential roles in nervous system function, and that gliotransmission modulates synapses, a significant challenge lies in developing the appropriate experimental strategy to allow unequivocal identification of roles for gliotransmission in nervous system function.

Keywords: Astrocyte, synaptic transmission, glutamate

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Q. Zhang
    • 1
  • P. G. Haydon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeuroscienceSchool of Medicine, University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA