Experience-dependent changes of neuron-glia circuitry
It is well established that exposure to an enriched environment alleviates both memory and emotional disturbances. We have investigated hippocampal local field potential (LFP) patterns in rats and mice raised in an enriched environment (ENR) or an impoverished, isolated (ISO) environment. As a result, we found that gamma activity is visibly enhanced in ENR rats and mice. Furthermore, we found that hippocampal ripple activity is attenuated in ISO IP3R2-KO mice, the mouse strain that lacks GPCR-activated Ca2+ signaling in astrocytes. While these results hints at a role of astrocytes in experience-dependent (long-term) plasticity, however, the exact nature of astrocytic signaling is unknown. We will disentangle possible astrocytic roles of experience-dependent plasticity by first looking at astrocytes’ second messenger signaling in behaving mice. The relevance of astrocytic GPCR signaling will be tested by cell-type specific opto- or pharmacogenetic manipulations.