Vesicular transmitter release from astrocytes

Glia. 2006 Nov 15;54(7):700-15. doi: 10.1002/glia.20367.


Astrocytes can release a variety of transmitters, including glutamate and ATP, in response to stimuli that induce increases in intracellular Ca(2+) levels. This release occurs via a regulated, exocytotic pathway. As evidence of this, astrocytes express protein components of the vesicular secretory apparatus, including synaptobrevin 2, syntaxin, and SNAP-23. Additionally, astrocytes possess vesicular organelles, the essential morphological elements required for regulated Ca(2+)-dependent transmitter release. The location of specific exocytotic sites on these cells, however, remains to be unequivocally determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Astrocytes / ultrastructure
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Central Nervous System / ultrastructure
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Glutamic Acid