Voltage- and Ligand-Gated Membrane Currents of Identified Glial Cells in the Hippocampal Slice

  • Christian Steinhäuser
  • Thomas Berger
  • Ronald Jabs
  • Michael Frotscher
  • Helmut Kettenmann
Part of the Brain Dynamics book series (BD)


In recent years it became evident that glial cells, acutely isolated or in culture, can express a variety of ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels that were previously thought to be exclusive to neurons. Among those are glutamate and GABA receptors (Bormann and Kettenmann, 1988; Sontheimer et al., 1989; Usowicz et al., 1989) and Ca++ and Na+ channels (MacVicar, 1984; Nowak et al., 1987). While the function of neuronal channels can be easily attributed to the propagation of electrical signals within the cell and between cells, the functional importance of the glial voltage- and transmitter-gated channels has remained a matter for speculation. The expression of sodium channels in Schwann cells, for instance, was thought to serve as a constant supply source for adjacent axons (Shrager et al., 1985). Glial GABA receptors were speculated to serve for Cl buffering at GABAergic synapses (Bormann and Kettenmann, 1988; MacVicar et al., 1989). Thus, studies of cell culture advanced our knowledge about the biophysical properties of the glial channels, but could not resolve questions concerning their functional importance.


Glial Cell Hippocampal Slice Voltage Step Tail Current Lucifer Yellow 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Steinhäuser
  • Thomas Berger
  • Ronald Jabs
  • Michael Frotscher
  • Helmut Kettenmann

There are no affiliations available

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