SPEAKERS/NOUSHIN AHMADPOUR
Noushin Ahmadpour

Noushin Ahmadpour

College of Pharmacy, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

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CAN-ACN 2021

2-B-154 - Astroglial ionotropic NMDA receptor calcium signalling and modulation of cortical neuron activity

Authors:

Noushin Ahmadpour¹, Michael Stobart¹, Jessica Meza-Resillas¹, Jillian Stobart¹

¹University of Manitoba

Abstract:

Astrocytes express different neurotransmitter receptors that serve to integrate these cells into neuronal networks. Many of these receptors, when sensing neuronal activity, induce elevations in intracellular astrocyte Ca2+, which leads to the release of gliotransmitters that modulate nearby neurons. Ionotropic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are found on astrocytes and are activated by glutamate and D-serine or glycine, and conduct Ca2+ into astrocytes. In brain slices, astrocyte NMDAR activation causes depolarization and Ca2+ elevations. However, its role in astrocytes Ca2+ transients and feedback modulation to neurons in vivo is not characterized. Therefore, we used a novel NMDAR knockdown (KD) construct to reduce NMDAR expression specifically in cortical astrocytes. Then, using dual calcium imaging of astrocytes and neurons each expressing a unique genetically encoded calcium indicator (Lck-GCaMP6f and RCaMP1.07 respectively) we determined the impact of astrocytes NMDARs on astrocytes Ca2+ transients and nearby neuronal activity. Two-photon microscopy of the barrel cortex of awake mice revealed that NMDAR KD reduced Ca2+ responses to whisker stimulation in both astrocytes and neurons. This highlights the importance of NMDAR in astrocyte Ca2+ signalling and astrocyte-neuron communication and suggests that astroglial NMDAR KD could cause deficits in sensory perception. This work contributes to a deeper knowledge of mechanisms underlying astrocyte Ca2+ signalling and provides novel directions to study the role of astrocytes in neuronal circuits.

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