Welcome to the Neurexpert Blog

Translating the Latest Neuroscience Research.

Astrocytes modulate thalamic sensory processing via mGlu2 receptor activation

by Tom Salt , 02 June 2017.

Astrocytes are a type of cell in the brain that possess many of the same signalling molecules as neurons - the brain cells that are thought to be responsible for information processing. However, the role of astrocytes in information processing, if any, is unknown. A multi-disciplinary collaboration of several research groups including Neurexpert scientists, employing various electrophysiological and imaging methods, reports the first evidence that astrocytes modulate or gate neuronal sensory inhibition in the thalamus.

Astrocytes at the synapse

Furthermore, this mechanism critically involves activation of a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) of the metabotropic glutamate receptor family. Using pharmacological methods, the work demonstrates that it is specifically the mGlu2 receptor subtype which contributes to this activity. Gating of thalamo-cortical information flow via astrocyte activation represents a novel sensory processing mechanism. As this thalamo-cortical circuitry is important in discriminative processes, this demonstrates the importance of astrocytes and metabotropic glutamate receptors in synaptic mechanisms underlying attention and cognition and may provide a lead into novel therapies for attention and cognitive disorders.

One of the specialities of Neurexpert is to use electrophysiological methods to probe the action of GPCRs on neuronal circuitry. Using these approaches we investigate the effect novel modulators have on neuronal function of relevance to development of treatments of neurological and psychiatric disorders

Publshed examples can be seen in the these papers:

For further information on the services offered by Neurexpert, please visit our main website here, for futher information and contact details.


To Read the full paper describing the modulation of sensory processing by astrocytes, accepted for publication in Neuropharmacology, click here .


The Blog was written by Tom Salt, Chief Scientific Officer at Neurexpert. To learn more about Tom and Neurexpert, please click here.


Recent Blog Posts

Dancing with the stars: alternative target for Huntington’s disease treatment

Posted by Carolyn on Feb 01, 2017

Bioluminescence allows for optogenetics illumination of neurons with no excitatory light

Posted by Stuart on Jan 19, 2017

Painful memories play role in chronic pain

Is chronic pain a problem with neural memory? We look at how the brain stores the pain and links it with psychological pain

Posted by Carolyn on Dec 19, 2016

Could photobiomodulation prevent the decline of bee populations caused by pesticides?

Posted by Carolyn on Nov 30, 2016

A look at a novel therapy for preventing drug seeking in addiction

One hurdle in overcoming addiction is ignoring cues in our environment that trigger drug seeking. We look at a new potential therapy for preventing drug seeking in addiction.

Posted by Carolyn on Nov 14, 2016

Targeting brain power to prevent and treat brain disorders

How disrupting brain energy processing can lead to brain disease- insights into how this can lead to a physiological fingerprint for diagnosis and drug development.

Posted by Carolyn on Oct 26, 2016

Neurexpert and Newcastle University to collaborate on translational drug discovery services

Posted by Stuart on September 08, 2016

The power of touch and neurodevelopmental disorders

Touch is incredibly important for normal brain development- babies who are not touched have poor outcomes. But, what if a baby gets enough love but their skin nerve cells don’t process touch appropriately? Over 75% of patients with autism spectrum disorder suffer from a change in the way they perceive touch. We look at a Cell study that made a major breakthrough in understanding the connection between the skin and social and anxiety symptoms of neurodevelopment disorders.

Posted by Carolyn on July 05, 2016

Unsure if you are depressed? Could your gut makeup tell your doctor and help customize treatment?

Posted by Carolyn on June 13, 2016

Neurexpert collaborates with Cellectricon to provide enhanced CNS drug discovery opportunities

Neurexpert and Cellectricon will work together to promote combined CNS drug discovery

Posted by Carolyn on June 09, 2016

LinkedIn Twitter email Facebook YouTube
Brochure Publications