McCarthy Lab Science 2010

Confocal image of an astrocyte (green) extending ramified processes that contact CA1 neuronal dendrites (red) within the stratum radiatum of hippocampus.

McCarthy Lab Science Enlargement

Astrocytes exhibit a large number of Gq G protein-coupled receptors (Gq GPCRs) linked to calcium mobilization from internal stores. While these receptors are activated by neurotransmitters released from presynaptic terminals, astrocytic Gq GPCR calcium signaling does not modulate hippocampal synaptic transmission and plasticity. The neurophysiological outcome of neuron-to-astrocyte Gq GPCR calcium signaling remains unknown.