Gliotransmitter Exocytosis and Its Consequences on Synaptic Transmission

  • Maurizio De PittàEmail author
Part of the Springer Series in Computational Neuroscience book series (NEUROSCI)


Calcium-dependent exocytosis of glutamate and purines from astrocytes is the mechanism of gliotransmission that has best been characterized up-to-date, but its putative functional consequences remain elusive. Here we review and expand a mathematical modeling framework originally introduced by De Pittà et al. (2011) to study how gliotransmission could affect synaptic coding and mechanisms of short-term plasticity. Consideration of analytical solutions for rate-based, mean field dynamics of gliotransmission-mediated synaptic neurotransmitter release provides a testable rationale to record functional modulations of synaptic transmission by gliotransmitters in experiments. At the same time, we present theoretical arguments that reveal how functional gliotransmission is a complex phenomenon that depends on the nature of structural and functional coupling between astrocytic and synaptic elements.


Gliotransmitter release Short-term synaptic plasticity Synaptic coding Tripartite synapse Mean field dynamics 



Research work presented here is supported by the Junior Leader Postdoctoral Fellowship Program from “la Caixa” Banking Foundation (grant LCF/BQ/LI18/11630006) and was also previously sponsored by the European Commission through an International Outgoing Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (Project 331486 “Neuron-Astro-Nets”). MDP also wishes to acknowledge the support of the Basque Government by the BERC 2018–2021 program, as well as the support by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities through the BCAM Severo Ochoa accreditation SEV-2017-0718.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Basque Center of Applied MathematicsBilbaoSpain

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