Distinct temporal integration of noradrenaline signaling by astrocytic second messengers during vigilance

Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 24;11(1):471. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-14378-x.


Astrocytes may function as mediators of the impact of noradrenaline on neuronal function. Activation of glial α1-adrenergic receptors triggers rapid astrocytic Ca2+ elevation and facilitates synaptic plasticity, while activation of β-adrenergic receptors elevates cAMP levels and modulates memory consolidation. However, the dynamics of these processes in behaving mice remain unexplored, as do the interactions between the distinct second messenger pathways. Here we simultaneously monitored astrocytic Ca2+ and cAMP and demonstrate that astrocytic second messengers are regulated in a temporally distinct manner. In behaving mice, we found that while an abrupt facial air puff triggered transient increases in noradrenaline release and large cytosolic astrocytic Ca2+ elevations, cAMP changes were not detectable. By contrast, repeated aversive stimuli that lead to prolonged periods of vigilance were accompanied by robust noradrenergic axonal activity and gradual sustained cAMP increases. Our findings suggest distinct astrocytic signaling pathways can integrate noradrenergic activity during vigilance states to mediate distinct functions supporting memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Fear / physiology
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Locus Coeruleus / cytology
  • Locus Coeruleus / physiology
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Norepinephrine / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / cytology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / physiology
  • Second Messenger Systems / physiology*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Norepinephrine