Astrocytes, classically considered as supportive cells for neurons without a direct role in brain information
processing, are emerging as relevant elements in brain physiology through their ability to regulate neuronal activity and
synaptic transmission and plasticity. In relation to the key role of astrocyte-neuron interactions in synaptic physiology, accumulating
evidence suggests that dysfunctions of neuron-astrocyte signaling may be linked to the pathology of various
neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. In this article, we summarize the evidence supporting the importance of astrocyte-neuron communication in synaptic physiology, which have led to reveal astrocytes as integral elements of synaptic
function. We also discuss how this novel view of astrocytic functions on brain physiology is prompting us to reconsider
the possible astrocytic roles in brain diseases, and specifically in depression.
Keywords: Astrocytes, gliotransmission, LTP, glia, glutamate, synaptic transmission, tripartite synapse.
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