Mechanisms of transmitter release from astrocytes

  • Erik B. Malarkey
  • Vladimir Parpura

Astrocytes and other glial cells can release a variety of neuroligands into the extracellular space using many different mechanisms. In this chapter we shall chiefly discuss the different chemical transmitters that astrocytes have been shown to release and examine the mechanisms by which these cells release the transmitters. In limited cases we shall expand our discussion on this subject to other astrocyte-related cells, such as Müller cells, pituicytes, as well as cell lines, including tumorigenic astrocytomas and gliomas. We shall focus on transmitters released from astrocytes, apart from eicosatetraenoids (briefly discussed in Chap. 18), growth factors and hormones (see Chap. 13). Transmitters can be released by astrocytes through several different mechanisms (1) through channels like anion channel openings induced by cell swelling (Pasantes Morales and Schousboe, 1988), release through functional unpaired connexons, hemichannels, on the cell surface (Cotrina et al., 1998) and...


Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator P2X7 Receptor Glutamate Release Anion Channel Transmitter Release 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



ATP-binding cassette


a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole propionate


alanine-serine-cysteine transporter


adenosine 5′-triphosphate


1,2-bis(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid


Brilliant Blue G


3′-O-(4-benzoyl)benzoyl ATP


adenosine 3′:5′ cyclic monophosphate


cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator


guanosine 3′:5′ cyclic monophosphate


plasma membrane capacitance






enhanced green fluorescent protein


electron microscopy


equilibrative nucleoside transporters


excitatory post synaptic current


flufenamic acid


18b-glycyrrhetinic acid


g-amino butyric acid


glutamic acid decarboxylase


plasma membrane GABA transporter


plasma membrane glycine transporters


homocysteic acid


multidrug resistance protein


Na+-K+-Cl- cotransporters


N-methyl-d-aspartic acid


oxidized ATP


pyridoxal phosphate-6-azophenyl-2-4-disulfonic acid


soluble N-ethyl maleimide-sensitive fusion protein attachment protein receptor


slow outward current


tricarboxylic acid


uridine diphosphate-glucose


uridine 5′-triphosphate


vacuolar type proton ATPase


vesicular GABA transporter


vesicular glutamate transporter


volume-regulated anion channels


volume-sensitive outwardly rectifying



The authors’ work is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH 069791). We thank Drs. Eliana Scemes and David C. Spray for comments on the previous versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik B. Malarkey
    • 1
  • Vladimir Parpura
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurobiology, Center for Glial Biology in Medicine, Civitan International Research Center, Atomic Force Microscopy & Nanotechnology Laboratories, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain InstituteUniversity of AlabamaBirminghamUSA

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