Store-operated calcium entry in neuroglia

Neurosci Bull. 2014 Feb;30(1):125-33. doi: 10.1007/s12264-013-1343-x. Epub 2013 May 15.


Neuroglial cells are homeostatic neural cells. Generally, they are electrically non-excitable and their activation is associated with the generation of complex intracellular Ca(2+) signals that define the "Ca(2+) excitability" of glia. In mammalian glial cells the major source of Ca(2+) for this excitability is the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which is ultimately (re)filled from the extracellular space. This occurs via store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) which is supported by a specific signaling system connecting the ER with plasmalemmal Ca(2+) entry. Here, emptying of the ER Ca(2+) store is necessary and sufficient for the activation of SOCE, and without Ca(2+) influx via SOCE the ER store cannot be refilled. The molecular arrangements underlying SOCE are relatively complex and include plasmalemmal channels, ER Ca(2+) sensors, such as stromal interaction molecule, and possibly ER Ca(2+) pumps (of the SERCA type). There are at least two sets of plasmalemmal channels mediating SOCE, the Ca(2+)-release activated channels, Orai, and transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. The molecular identity of neuroglial SOCE has not been yet identified unequivocally. However, it seems that Orai is predominantly expressed in microglia, whereas astrocytes and oligodendrocytes rely more on TRP channels to produce SOCE. In physiological conditions the SOCE pathway is instrumental for the sustained phase of the Ca(2+) signal observed following stimulation of metabotropic receptors on glial cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*