Calcium dynamics in astrocyte processes during neurovascular coupling

Yo Otsu, Kiri Couchman, Declan G. Lyons, Mayeul Collot, Amit Agarwal, Jean Maurice Mallet, Frank W. Pfrieger, Dwight E. Bergles, Serge Charpak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Enhanced neuronal activity in the brain triggers a local increase in blood flow, termed functional hyperemia, via several mechanisms, including calcium (Ca 2+) signaling in astrocytes. However, recent in vivo studies have questioned the role of astrocytes in functional hyperemia because of the slow and sparse dynamics of their somatic Ca 2+ signals and the absence of glutamate metabotropic receptor 5 in adults. Here, we reexamined their role in neurovascular coupling by selectively expressing a genetically encoded Ca 2+ sensor in astrocytes of the olfactory bulb. We show that in anesthetized mice, the physiological activation of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) terminals reliably triggers Ca 2+ increases in astrocyte processes but not in somata. These Ca 2+ increases systematically precede the onset of functional hyperemia by 1-2 s, reestablishing astrocytes as potential regulators of neurovascular coupling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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