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Synaptic efficacy enhanced by glial cells in vitro

Item Type:Article
Title:Synaptic efficacy enhanced by glial cells in vitro
Creators Name:Pfrieger, F.W. and Barres, B.A.
Abstract:In the developing nervous system, glial cells guide axons to their target areas, but it is unknown whether they help neurons to establish functional synaptic connections. The role of glial cells in synapse formation and function was studied in cultures of purified neurons from the rat central nervous system. In glia-free cultures, retinal ganglion cells formed synapses with normal ultrastructure but displayed little spontaneous synaptic activity and high failure rates in evoked synaptic transmission. In cocultures with neuroglia, the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous postsynaptic currents were potentiated by 70-fold and 5-fold, respectively, and fewer transmission failures occurred. Glial cells increased the action potential-independent quantal release by 12-fold without affecting neuronal survival. Thus, developing neurons in culture form inefficient synapses that require glial signals to become fully functional.
Keywords:Action Potentials, Astrocytes, Cell Survival, Coculture Techniques, Cultured Cells, Microglia, Neuroglia, Oligodendroglia, Retinal Ganglion Cells, Synapses, Synaptic Transmission, Animals, Rats
Source:Science
ISSN:0036-8075
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science (U.S.A.)
Volume:277
Number:5332
Page Range:1684-1687
Date:12 September 1997
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.277.5332.1684
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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