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Neuron to astrocyte communication via cannabinoid receptors is necessary for sustained epileptiform activity in rat hippocampus


Coiret, Guyllaume; Ster, Jeanne; Grewe, Benjamin; Wendling, Fabrice; Helmchen, Fritjof; Gerber, Urs; Benquet, Pascal (2012). Neuron to astrocyte communication via cannabinoid receptors is necessary for sustained epileptiform activity in rat hippocampus. PLoS ONE, 7(5):e37320.

Abstract

Astrocytes are integral functional components of synapses, regulating transmission and plasticity. They have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of epilepsy, although their precise roles have not been comprehensively characterized. Astrocytes integrate activity from neighboring synapses by responding to neuronally released neurotransmitters such as glutamate and ATP. Strong activation of astrocytes mediated by these neurotransmitters can promote seizure-like activity by initiating a positive feedback loop that induces excessive neuronal discharge. Recent work has demonstrated that astrocytes express cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors, which are sensitive to endocannabinoids released by nearby pyramidal cells. In this study, we tested whether this mechanism also contributes to epileptiform activity. In a model of 4-aminopyridine induced epileptic-like activity in hippocampal slice cultures, we show that pharmacological blockade of astrocyte CB1 receptors did not modify the initiation, but significantly reduced the maintenance of epileptiform discharge. When communication in astrocytic networks was disrupted by chelating astrocytic calcium, this CB1 receptor-mediated modulation of epileptiform activity was no longer observed. Thus, endocannabinoid signaling from neurons to astrocytes represents an additional significant factor in the maintenance of epileptiform activity in the hippocampus.

Abstract

Astrocytes are integral functional components of synapses, regulating transmission and plasticity. They have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of epilepsy, although their precise roles have not been comprehensively characterized. Astrocytes integrate activity from neighboring synapses by responding to neuronally released neurotransmitters such as glutamate and ATP. Strong activation of astrocytes mediated by these neurotransmitters can promote seizure-like activity by initiating a positive feedback loop that induces excessive neuronal discharge. Recent work has demonstrated that astrocytes express cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors, which are sensitive to endocannabinoids released by nearby pyramidal cells. In this study, we tested whether this mechanism also contributes to epileptiform activity. In a model of 4-aminopyridine induced epileptic-like activity in hippocampal slice cultures, we show that pharmacological blockade of astrocyte CB1 receptors did not modify the initiation, but significantly reduced the maintenance of epileptiform discharge. When communication in astrocytic networks was disrupted by chelating astrocytic calcium, this CB1 receptor-mediated modulation of epileptiform activity was no longer observed. Thus, endocannabinoid signaling from neurons to astrocytes represents an additional significant factor in the maintenance of epileptiform activity in the hippocampus.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:21 Feb 2013 14:34
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 15:57
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037320
PubMed ID:22615976

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