Astrocytes Control Sensory Acuity via Tonic Inhibition in the Thalamus
On September 8, 2020, professor Justin Lee from Korea University of Science and Technology coauthered with Eunji Cheong from Yonsei University published a paper on Neuron. The paper titled Astrocytes Control Sensory Acuity via Tonic Inhibition in the Thalamus.
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Sensory discrimination is essential for survival. However, how sensory information is finely controlled in the brain is not well defined. Here, we show that astrocytes control tactile acuity via tonic inhibition in the thalamus. Mechanistically, diamine oxidase (DAO) and the subsequent aldehyde dehydrogenase 1a1 (Aldh1a1) convert putrescine into GABA, which is released via Best1. The GABA from astrocytes inhibits synaptically evoked firing at the lemniscal synapses to fine-tune the dynamic range of the stimulation-re-sponse relationship, the precision of spike timing, and tactile discrimination. Our findings reveal a novel role of astrocytes in the control of sensory acuity through tonic GABA release.
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