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Open AccessArticle

Opioid-Mediated Astrocyte–Neuron Signaling in the Nucleus Accumbens

Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Cells 2019, 8(6), 586;
Received: 13 May 2019 / Revised: 8 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Astrocytes in Space and Time)
Major hallmarks of astrocyte physiology are the elevation of intracellular calcium in response to neurotransmitters and the release of neuroactive substances (gliotransmitters) that modulate neuronal activity. While μ-opioid receptor expression has been identified in astrocytes of the nucleus accumbens, the functional consequences on astrocyte–neuron communication remains largely unknown. The present study has investigated the astrocyte responsiveness to μ-opioid signaling and the regulation of gliotransmission in the nucleus accumbens. Through the combination of calcium imaging and whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology in brain slices, we have found that μ-opioid receptor activation in astrocytes elevates astrocyte cytoplasmic calcium and stimulates the release of the gliotransmitter glutamate, which evokes slow inward currents through the activation of neuronal N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. These results indicate the existence of molecular mechanisms underlying opioid-mediated astrocyte–neuron signaling in the nucleus accumbens. View Full-Text
Keywords: astrocytes; opioids; synaptic transmission astrocytes; opioids; synaptic transmission
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Corkrum, M.; Rothwell, P.E.; Thomas, M.J.; Kofuji, P.; Araque, A. Opioid-Mediated Astrocyte–Neuron Signaling in the Nucleus Accumbens. Cells 2019, 8, 586.

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