Comment; This is a bit of a game-changer. We know that neuron’s are active in transmitting impulses, receiving and transmitting excitatory and/or inhibitory impulses to the next neuron in the chain. Now it turns out that even the supporting cells have a role in influencing the activity of action potential propagation or suppression.

Published:January 15, 2020DOI: MetricsPrevious ArticleEstimation of Current and Future Physiological States i …Next ArticleAmygdala Reward Neurons Form and Store Fear Extinc …


  • •Astrocytes in the Nucleus Accumbens respond to synaptic dopamine in vivo
  • •Astrocytes mediate the synaptic regulation induced by dopamine and amphetamine
  • •Amphetamine-induced enhancement in locomotion activity is modulated by astrocytes


Dopamine is involved in physiological processes like learning and memory, motor control and reward, and pathological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and addiction. In contrast to the extensive studies on neurons, astrocyte involvement in dopaminergic signaling remains largely unknown. Using transgenic mice, optogenetics, and pharmacogenetics, we studied the role of astrocytes on the dopaminergic system. We show that in freely behaving mice, astrocytes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a key reward center in the brain, respond with Ca 2+ elevations to synaptically released dopamine, a phenomenon enhanced by amphetamine. In brain slices, synaptically released dopamine increases astrocyte Ca 2+, stimulates ATP/adenosine release, and depresses excitatory synaptic transmission through activation of presynaptic A 1 receptors. Amphetamine depresses neurotransmission through stimulation of astrocytes and the consequent A 1 receptor activation. Furthermore, astrocytes modulate the acute behavioral psychomotor effects of amphetamine. Therefore, astrocytes mediate the dopamine- and amphetamine-induced synaptic regulation, revealing a novel cellular pathway in the brain reward system.

Dr. Raymond Oenbrink