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SCSB Colloquium Series – Baljit Khakh Ph.D.

May 29, 2019 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm, followed by reception
Speaker: Baljit S. Khakh, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Professor of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of California, Los Angeles

Host: Mriganka Sur, Ph.D., FRS

Talk title: Astrocyte signaling within striatal microcircuits in vivo

Abstract: Hyperactivity and disturbances of attention are common behavioral disorders whose underlying cellular and neural circuit causes are not understood. We will report the discovery that striatal astrocytes drive such phenotypes through a hitherto unknown synaptic mechanism. We found that striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) triggered astrocyte signaling via GABAB receptors. Selective chemogenetic activation of this pathway in striatal astrocytes in vivo resulted in acute behavioral hyperactivity and disrupted attention. Such responses also resulted in up-regulation of the synaptogenic cue thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) in astrocytes, increased excitatory synapses, enhanced corticostriatal synaptic transmission, and increased MSN action potential firing in vivo. All of these changes were reversed by blocking TSP1 effects. Our data identify a form of bidirectional neuron-astrocyte communication, and demonstrate that acute reactivation of a single, latent astrocyte synaptogenic cue alters striatal circuits controlling behavior, revealing astrocytes and the TSP1 pathway as therapeutic targets in hyperactivity, attention deficit and related psychiatric disorders.


May 29, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Singleton Auditorium, Bldg. 46, Room 3002
43 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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Simons Center for the Social Brain