Calcium dynamics in astrocyte processes during neurovascular coupling

Yo Otsu, Kiri Couchman, Declan G. Lyons, Mayeul Collot, Amit Agarwal, Jean Maurice Mallet, Frank W. Pfrieger, Dwight E Bergles, Serge Charpak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Enhanced neuronal activity in the brain triggers a local increase in blood flow, termed functional hyperemia, via several mechanisms, including calcium (Ca 2+) signaling in astrocytes. However, recent in vivo studies have questioned the role of astrocytes in functional hyperemia because of the slow and sparse dynamics of their somatic Ca 2+ signals and the absence of glutamate metabotropic receptor 5 in adults. Here, we reexamined their role in neurovascular coupling by selectively expressing a genetically encoded Ca 2+ sensor in astrocytes of the olfactory bulb. We show that in anesthetized mice, the physiological activation of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) terminals reliably triggers Ca 2+ increases in astrocyte processes but not in somata. These Ca 2+ increases systematically precede the onset of functional hyperemia by 1-2 s, reestablishing astrocytes as potential regulators of neurovascular coupling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Otsu, Y., Couchman, K., Lyons, D. G., Collot, M., Agarwal, A., Mallet, J. M., Pfrieger, F. W., Bergles, D. E., & Charpak, S. (2015). Calcium dynamics in astrocyte processes during neurovascular coupling. Nature Neuroscience, 18(2), 210-218.