Local and expanding glial activity patterns in memory-related networks of mice

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The most abundant cells in the brain are not neurons but glia. Do they play an active role in information processing?

The very specific focal or global activity of astroglia cells might be highly correlated with neuronal networks that are active in learning and memory. Our studies will reveal how focal [Ca2+]i-events are generated and propagated in astrogilal cell populations. Ultimately, we want to elucidate whether astrocytes show spatiotemporal population responses similar to, and in conjunction with, neuronal ensembles.

Recent findings using Ca2+-activity indicators provide first ideas how and why neuronal activity triggers specific activity patterns in astroglial networks in the hippocampus. However, it is still unsolved whether the controversially discussed neurotransmitter activation of astroglia is involved in learning and memory. To unravel putative correlations between specific patterns of neuronal and astroglial activity, we are planning to analyze an to compare intracellular [Ca2+]i-elevations in hippocampal astroglia populations during spontaneous, and during induced multicellular neuronal activity in adult, aged and learning impairment mice. As an ultimate goal we envisage doing in vivo recordings of astroglia activity in the olfactory bulb, somatosensory cortex and possibly in the hippocampus.
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*Principal investigators of other projects within the CRC