Astrocytes in the mouse visual cortex reliably respond to visual stimulation

Keita Sonoda, Teppei Matsui, Haruhiko Bito, Kenichi Ohki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Astrocytes are known to contact with a great number of synapses and may integrate sensory inputs. In the ferret primary visual cortex, astrocytes respond to a visual stimulus with a delay of several seconds with respect to the surrounding neurons. However, in the mouse visual cortex, it remains unclear whether astrocytes respond to visual stimulations. In this study, using dual-color simultaneous in vivo two-photon calcium imaging of neurons and astrocytes in the awake mouse visual cortex, we examined the visual response of astrocytes and their precise response timing relative to the surrounding neurons. Neurons reliably responded to visual stimulations, whereas astrocytes often showed neuromodulator-mediated global activities, which largely masked small visual responses. Administration of the selective α1-adrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin substantially reduced such global astrocytic activities without affecting the neuronal visual responses. In the presence of prazosin, astrocytes showed weak but consistent visual responses mostly at their somata. Cross-correlation analysis estimated that the astrocytic visual responses were delayed by approximately 5 seconds relative to the surrounding neuronal responses. In conclusion, our research demonstrated that astrocytes in the primary visual cortex of awake mice responded to visual stimuli with a delay of several seconds relative to the surrounding neurons, which may indicate the existence of a common mechanism of neuron–astrocyte communication across species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-1222
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 10 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocyte
  • In vivo two-photon Ca imaging
  • Mouse
  • Neuron
  • Prazosin
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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