Glia-derived ATP inversely regulates excitability of pyramidal and CCK-positive neurons

Nat Commun. 2017 Jan 27;8:13772. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13772.


Astrocyte responds to neuronal activity with calcium waves and modulates synaptic transmission through the release of gliotransmitters. However, little is known about the direct effect of gliotransmitters on the excitability of neuronal networks beyond synapses. Here we show that selective stimulation of astrocytes expressing channelrhodopsin-2 in the CA1 area specifically increases the firing frequency of CCK-positive but not parvalbumin-positive interneurons and decreases the firing rate of pyramidal neurons, phenomena mimicked by exogenously applied ATP. Further evidences indicate that ATP-induced increase and decrease of excitability are caused, respectively, by P2Y1 receptor-mediated inhibition of a two-pore domain potassium channel and A1 receptor-mediated opening of a G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium channel. Moreover, the activation of ChR2-expressing astrocytes reduces the power of kainate-induced hippocampal ex vivo gamma oscillation. Thus, through distinct receptor subtypes coupled with different K+ channels, astrocyte-derived ATP differentially modulates the excitability of different types of neurons and efficiently controls the activity of neuronal network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / cytology
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Channelrhodopsins / genetics
  • Channelrhodopsins / metabolism
  • Cholecystokinin / metabolism
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Kainic Acid / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y1 / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Channelrhodopsins
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels
  • Parvalbumins
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y1
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Cholecystokinin
  • Kainic Acid