DOI: 10.3390/ijms25010581 ISSN: 1422-0067

Astrocytic Regulation of Endocannabinoid-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity in the Dorsolateral Striatum

Louise Adermark, Rosita Stomberg, Bo Söderpalm, Mia Ericson
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Astrocytes are pivotal for synaptic transmission and may also play a role in the induction and expression of synaptic plasticity, including endocannabinoid-mediated long-term depression (eCB-LTD). In the dorsolateral striatum (DLS), eCB signaling plays a major role in balancing excitation and inhibition and promoting habitual learning. The aim of this study was to outline the role of astrocytes in regulating eCB signaling in the DLS. To this end, we employed electrophysiological slice recordings combined with metabolic, chemogenetic and pharmacological approaches in an attempt to selectively suppress astrocyte function. High-frequency stimulation induced eCB-mediated LTD (HFS-LTD) in brain slices from both male and female rats. The metabolic uncoupler fluorocitrate (FC) reduced the probability of transmitter release and depressed synaptic output in a manner that was independent on cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R) activation. Fluorocitrate did not affect the LTD induced by the CB1R agonist WIN55,212-2, but enhanced CB1R-dependent HFS-LTD. Reduced neurotransmission and facilitated HFS-LTD were also observed during chemogenetic manipulation using Gi-coupled DREADDs targeting glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-expressing cells, during the pharmacological inhibition of connexins using carbenoxolone disodium, or during astrocytic glutamate uptake using TFB-TBOA. While pretreatment with the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (APV) failed to prevent synaptic depression induced by FC, it blocked the facilitation of HFS-LTD. While the lack of tools to disentangle astrocytes from neurons is a major limitation of this study, our data collectively support a role for astrocytes in modulating basal neurotransmission and eCB-mediated synaptic plasticity.

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