Glial modulation of vibrissal sensory processing in rats

Chin J Physiol. 2013 Dec 31;56(6):309-17. doi: 10.4077/CJP.2013.BAB129.


Interactions between neurons and glial cells in the brain have important roles in brain functions such as development and plasticity of neural circuits or functions. Glial cells are much more actively involved in brain functions than previously thought. Here, we used vibrissal stimuli to induce sensoryevoked responses and multiunit spikes in the contralateral barrel cortex in a rat model. Local application of the gliotoxin DL-alpha-aminoadipate (AA) revealed that glial cells were involved in the sensoryevoked responses. The increases in the amplitude of somatosensory-evoked potential (SEP) and multiunit sensory-evoked spike rates in barrel cortex after AA injection were dramatic. Immunohistochemical staining of brain lipid binding protein (BLBP) and NeuN showed AA decreased cell number of astrocytes but not neurons in the barrel cortex. In conclusion, our results suggested an important role for astrocyte metabolism in normal synaptic activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid / pharmacology
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Vibrissae / physiology*


  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid
  • Adenosine Triphosphate