About this Research Topic
Astrocytes are largest class of glial cells, and are morphologically and physiologically adapted to play an integral part of central nervous system (CNS) activity. With emerging technologies, we have entered a new era of understanding how astrocytes participate in and modulate neuronal activity from the subcellular to mesoscale levels. However, fundamental questions about astrocytes remain. In particular, we have yet to fully understand: 1) how physiologically and molecularly heterogeneous are astrocytes, 2) how uniform or variable the astrocyte effects are on neurons at various synapses and circuits throughout the CNS, and 3) under what conditions and by what mechanisms do astrocytes modulate neuronal activity? Moreover, answers to these questions are needed to clarify some conflicting data that has arisen in past research. We are launching this Research Topic to explore recent advances in understanding how astrocytes listen and speak to neurons to shape cell-cell communication and physiological circuit activity. We call for papers (primary research articles, reviews, commentaries, technique reports) on the topic, with an emphasis on the role of astrocytes in neuronal plasticity and in population neuronal activity over time. We are keen to receive submissions on astrocyte functions pertaining to circuits in specific physiological systems towards the overall goal of highlighting shared principles and heterogeneity of astrocyte-neuron interactions across different brain regions. We also welcome work that applies new technologies to image and manipulate astrocytes.
Keywords: astrocyte, circuit, physiology, synapse, heterogeneity
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