[Novel function of astrocytes revealed by optogenetics]

Kaoru Beppu, Ko Matsui

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Astrocytes respond to neuronal activity. However, whether astrocytic activity has any significance in brain function is unknown. Signaling pathway leading from astrocytes to neurons would be required for astrocytes to participate in neuronal functions and, here, we investigated the presence of such pathway. Optogenetics was used to manipulate astrocytic activity. A light-sensitive protein, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), was selectively expressed in astrocytes. Photostimulation of these astrocytes induced glutamate release which modulated neuronal activity and animal behavior. Such glutamate release was triggered by intracellular acidification produced by ChR2 photoactivation. Astrocytic acidification occurs upon brain ischemia, and we found that another optogenetic tool, archaerhodopsin (ArchT), could counter the acidification and suppress astrocytic glutamate release. Controlling of astrocytic pH may become a therapeutic strategy upon ischemia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2243-2249
    Number of pages7
    JournalNihon rinsho. Japanese journal of clinical medicine
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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