Journal of Neurophysiology

Astrocytic group I mGluR-dependent potentiation of astrocytic glutamate and potassium uptake

Prakash Devaraju, Min-Yu Sun, Timothy L. Myers, Kelli Lauderdale, Todd A. Fiacco


One of the most important functions of astrocytes is removal of glutamate released during synaptic transmission. Surprisingly, the mechanisms by which astrocyte glutamate uptake is acutely modulated remain to be clarified. Astrocytes express metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and other G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are activated during neuronal activity. Here, we test the hypothesis that astrocytic group I mGluRs acutely regulate glutamate uptake by astrocytes in situ. This hypothesis was tested in acute mouse hippocampal slices. Activation of astrocytic mGluRs, using a tetanic high-frequency stimulus (HFS) applied to Schaffer collaterals, led to potentiation of the amplitude of the synaptically evoked glutamate transporter currents (STCs) and associated charge transfer without changes in kinetics. Similar potentiation of STCs was not observed in the presence of group I mGluR antagonists or the PKC inhibitor, PKC 19–36, suggesting that HFS-induced potentiation of astrocyte glutamate uptake is astrocytic group I mGluR and PKC dependent. Pharmacological stimulation of a transgenic GPCR (MrgA1R), expressed exclusively in astrocytes, also potentiated STC amplitude and charge transfer, albeit quicker and shorter lasting compared with HFS-induced potentiation. The amplitude of the slow, inward astrocytic current due to potassium (K+) influx was also enhanced following activation of the endogenous mGluRs or the astrocyte-specific MrgA1 Gq GPCRs. Taken together, these findings suggest that astrocytic group I mGluR activation has a synergistic, modulatory effect on the uptake of glutamate and K+.

  • astrocyte
  • glia
  • Gq GPCR
  • calcium
  • glutamate transporter
  • STC
  • GLT-1
  • Kir4.1
  • potassium buffering
  • acute hippocampal slice
  • CA1
  • hippocampus
  • PKC
  • PKA
  • Schaffer collateral
  • LTP
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