Astrocytes: integrators of arousal state and sensory context

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The integration of external information with the internal state of the body is central to the survival of virtually every multicellular organism. However, a complete picture of the mechanisms that govern this process is lacking. In this opinion article, we synthesize evidence demonstrating that astrocytes sense the momentary arousal state – through neuromodulator release – as well as the sensory inputs – through local synaptic activity – and respond to them with changes in calcium (Ca2+) signaling. We hypothesize that astrocytes integrate sensory signals with the internal state and that this process is necessary to secure optimal behavior. Finally, we argue that dysfunctional astrocytic Ca2+ signaling could be an underlying factor in disorders characterized by disrupted sensory processing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number6
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2023 The Authors

    Research areas

  • calcium signaling, glial cells, internal state, neuromodulation, sensory processing

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