Reducing Astrocyte Calcium Signaling In Vivo Alters Striatal Microcircuits and Causes Repetitive Behavior

Xinzhu Yu, Anna M.W. Taylor, Jun Nagai, Peyman Golshani, Christopher J. Evans, Giovanni Coppola, Baljit S. Khakh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Astrocytes tile the central nervous system, but their functions in neural microcircuits in vivo and their roles in mammalian behavior remain incompletely defined. We used two-photon laser scanning microscopy, electrophysiology, MINIscopes, RNA-seq, and a genetic approach to explore the effects of reduced striatal astrocyte Ca 2+ signaling in vivo. In wild-type mice, reducing striatal astrocyte Ca 2+ -dependent signaling increased repetitive self-grooming behaviors by altering medium spiny neuron (MSN) activity. The mechanism involved astrocyte-mediated neuromodulation facilitated by ambient GABA and was corrected by blocking astrocyte GABA transporter 3 (GAT-3). Furthermore, in a mouse model of Huntington's disease, dysregulation of GABA and astrocyte Ca 2+ signaling accompanied excessive self-grooming, which was relieved by blocking GAT-3. Assessments with RNA-seq revealed astrocyte genes and pathways regulated by Ca 2+ signaling in a cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous manner, including Rab11a, a regulator of GAT-3 functional expression. Thus, striatal astrocytes contribute to neuromodulation controlling mouse obsessive-compulsive-like behavior. The Khakh laboratory evaluated the consequences of genetically attenuating astrocyte calcium signaling in the adult mouse striatum in vivo. They discovered excessive self-grooming phenotypes, the mechanisms of which were explored at the molecular, cellular, and in vivo levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1170-1187.e9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 19 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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