Astrocyte’s clean up and re-use of proBDNF for memory consolidation
By cleaning up excess (pro)brain-derived neurotrophic factor (proBDNF) from neuronal synapses, astrocytes finely control synaptic plasticity to affect processes such as learning and memory, explain the corresponding authors of arecent publication in Neuron (https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1U5pa3BtfGhp6O), (researcher at the Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO), University of Trento) and (Group Leader at the European Brain Research Institute and physiologist at the Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO) University of Trento).
Secretion of the neurotrophin BDNF has been implicated in long-term synaptic modification, and the function of BDNF on synaptic strength depends on its specific form. Vignoli et al. investigated the aftermath of proBDNF, BDNF precursor form, following long-term potentiation (LTP) in the cortex.
They demonstrated that when neurons secrete proBDNF, a large amount of the pro-neurotrophin is immediately taken up by astrocytes and re-secreted back to neurons; a mechanism that is required for long-lasting synaptic plasticity and memory retention. Thus, the specific mopping up and re-use of proBDNF astrocytes seem to assist in fine tuningsynaptic plasticity and memory consolidation.
Fig. 3D-SIM images depict an astrocyte transduced with GFP in the mouse cortex. Insets show magnification of glial end-feet expressing proBDNF/GFP co-localization. Co-localization signal in the half-left (upper) or half-right (lower) part of the cell body is shown in two-times magnification images. Scale bar is 10 µm.