Satellite glia are the major glial cells in sympathetic ganglia, enveloping neuronal cell bodies. Despite this intimate association, the extent to which sympathetic functions are influenced by satellite glia in vivo remains unclear. Here, we show that satellite glia are critical for metabolism, survival, and activity of sympathetic neurons and modulate autonomic behaviors in mice. Adult ablation of satellite glia results in impaired mTOR signaling, soma atrophy, reduced noradrenergic enzymes, and loss of sympathetic neurons. However, persisting neurons have elevated activity, and satellite glia-ablated mice show increased pupil dilation and heart rate, indicative of enhanced sympathetic tone. Satellite glia-specific deletion of Kir4.1, an inward-rectifying potassium channel, largely recapitulates the cellular defects observed in glia-ablated mice, suggesting that satellite glia act in part via K+-dependent mechanisms. These findings highlight neuron–satellite glia as functionaunits in regulating sympathetic output, with implications for disorders linked to sympathetic hyper-activity such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)