March 21 *IN PERSON* E5-2004 - Maurizio de Pitta (Krembil/UofT)*
Title: Neuron-glial switches
Abstract: Healthy brain functions rely on the intricate interaction of neurons with glial cells. Among the latter, astrocytes are ubiquitous in our cortical circuits and can affect synaptic transmission on multiple time scales. On the short time scale, they are responsible, for example, for glutamate clearance, which is critical in setting the tone of neural activity. On a longer time scale, astrocytes operate as endocrine cells, modulating synaptic function by releasing common transmitter molecules. Although different in nature, both pathways may mediate positive feedback on neural activity, resulting in the emergence of multistability. In this scenario, the multiple activity states emerging from neuron-astrocyte interactions could account for various cognitive-related mechanisms in the healthy and diseased brain: from working-memory tasks to dementia-related neural correlates.
Scientist, Krembil Research Institute Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology,
Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Scientific Associate, Basque Center for Applied Mathematics, Bilbao, Spain Professor,
Department of Neurosciences, University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Spain