Shining the Light on Astrocytic Ensembles

Cells. 2023 Apr 26;12(9):1253. doi: 10.3390/cells12091253.


While neurons have traditionally been considered the primary players in information processing, the role of astrocytes in this mechanism has largely been overlooked due to experimental constraints. In this review, we propose that astrocytic ensembles are active working groups that contribute significantly to animal conduct and suggest that studying the maps of these ensembles in conjunction with neurons is crucial for a more comprehensive understanding of behavior. We also discuss available methods for studying astrocytes and argue that these ensembles, complementarily with neurons, code and integrate complex behaviors, potentially specializing in concrete functions.

Keywords: astrocytic ensembles; behavior; brain integration properties; neuron-astrocyte communication.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes* / physiology
  • Cognition
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons* / physiology

Grants and funding

This research was funded by Ayudante de investigación de la Comunidad de Madrid 2020 fellowship (PEJ-2020-AI/BMD-18245) to L.D.; grants from Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (PID2021-122586NB-I00) and International Society for Neurochemistry ISN Career Development Grant (CDG) to M.N.