Calcium imaging reveals glial involvement in transcranial direct current stimulation-induced plasticity in mouse brain

Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 22;7:11100. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11100.

Abstract

Transcranical direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a treatment known to ameliorate various neurological conditions and enhance memory and cognition in humans. tDCS has gained traction for its potential therapeutic value; however, little is known about its mechanism of action. Using a transgenic mouse expressing G-CaMP7 in astrocytes and a subpopulation of excitatory neurons, we find that tDCS induces large-amplitude astrocytic Ca(2+) surges across the entire cortex with no obvious changes in the local field potential. Moreover, sensory evoked cortical responses are enhanced after tDCS. These enhancements are dependent on the alpha-1 adrenergic receptor and are not observed in IP3R2 (inositol trisphosphate receptor type 2) knockout mice, in which astrocytic Ca(2+) surges are absent. Together, we propose that tDCS changes the metaplasticity of the cortex through astrocytic Ca(2+)/IP3 signalling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Optical Imaging
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1 / genetics
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation*

Substances

  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors
  • Ip3r2 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Calcium