Probing the Complexities of Astrocyte Calcium Signaling

Trends Cell Biol. 2016 Apr;26(4):300-312. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2016.01.003. Epub 2016 Feb 16.


Astrocytes are abundant glial cells that tile the entire central nervous system and mediate well-established functions for neurons, blood vessels, and other glia. These ubiquitous cells display intracellular Ca(2+) signals, which have been intensely studied for 25 years. Recently, the use of improved methods has unearthed the panoply of astrocyte Ca(2+) signals and a variable landscape of basal Ca(2+) levels. In vivo studies have started to reveal the settings under which astrocytes display behaviorally relevant Ca(2+) signaling. Studies in mice have emphasized how astrocyte Ca(2+) signaling is altered in distinct neurodegenerative diseases. Progress in the past few years, fueled by methodological advances, has thus reignited interest in astrocyte Ca(2+) signaling for brain function and dysfunction.

Keywords: AAV; GCaMP; astrocyte; calcium; imaging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • VC6.1 cameleon protein, recombinant
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Calcium