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Open AccessArticle

Neuronal Activity-Dependent Activation of Astroglial Calcineurin in Mouse Primary Hippocampal Cultures

1
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Università del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”, Via Bovio 6, 28100 Novara, Italy
2
Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Via Forlanini 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
3
Department of Biology and Biotechnology “Lazzaro Spallanzani”, University of Pavia, Via Forlanini 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 2997; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19102997
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 25 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 30 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calcium Signaling in Human Health and Diseases)
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Abstract

Astrocytes respond to neuronal activity by generating calcium signals which are implicated in the regulation of astroglial housekeeping functions and/or in modulation of synaptic transmission. We hypothesized that activity-induced calcium signals in astrocytes may activate calcineurin (CaN), a calcium/calmodulin-regulated protein phosphatase, implicated in neuropathology, but whose role in astroglial physiology remains unclear. We used a lentiviral vector expressing NFAT-EYFP (NY) fluorescent calcineurin sensor and a chemical protocol of LTP induction (cLTP) to show that, in mixed neuron-astrocytic hippocampal cultures, cLTP induced robust NY translocation into astrocyte nuclei and, hence, CaN activation. NY translocation was abolished by the CaN inhibitor FK506, and was not observed in pure astroglial cultures. Using Fura-2 single cell calcium imaging, we found sustained Ca2+ elevations in juxtaneuronal, but not distal, astrocytes. Pharmacological analysis revealed that both the Ca2+ signals and the nuclear NY translocation in astrocytes required NMDA and mGluR5 receptors and depended on extracellular Ca2+ entry via a store-operated mechanism. Our results provide a proof of principle that calcineurin in astrocytes may be activated in response to neuronal activity, thereby delineating a framework for investigating the role of astroglial CaN in the physiology of central nervous system. View Full-Text
Keywords: astrocytes; calcineurin; neuronal activity; NMDA; mGluR5; store-operated calcium entry astrocytes; calcineurin; neuronal activity; NMDA; mGluR5; store-operated calcium entry
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Lim, D.; Mapelli, L.; Canonico, P.L.; Moccia, F.; Genazzani, A.A. Neuronal Activity-Dependent Activation of Astroglial Calcineurin in Mouse Primary Hippocampal Cultures. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2997.

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