Dissociation Between Neuronal and Astrocytic Calcium Activity in Response to Locomotion in Mice

Anna Fedotova, Alexey Brazhe, Maxim Doronin, Dmytro Toptunov, Evgeny Pryazhnikov, Leonard Khiroug, Alexei Verkhratsky, Alexey Semyanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Locomotion triggers a coordinated response of both neurons and astrocytes in the brain. Here we performed calcium (Ca2+) imaging of these two cell types in the somatosensory cortex in head-fixed mice moving on the airlifted platform. Ca2+ activity in astrocytes significantly increased during locomotion from a low quiescence level. Ca2+ signals first appeared in the distal processes and then propagated to astrocytic somata, where it became significantly larger and exhibited oscillatory behaviour. Thus, astrocytic soma operates as both integrator and amplifier of Ca2+ signal. In neurons, Ca2+ activity was pronounced in quiescent periods and further increased during locomotion. Neuronal Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) rose almost immediately following the onset of locomotion, whereas astrocytic Ca2+ signals lagged by several seconds. Such a long lag suggests that astrocytic [Ca2+]i elevations are unlikely to be triggered by the activity of synapses among local neurons. Ca2+ responses to pairs of consecutive episodes of locomotion did not significantly differ in neurons, while were significantly diminished in response to the second locomotion in astrocytes. Such astrocytic refractoriness may arise from distinct mechanisms underlying Ca2+ signal generation. In neurons, the bulk of Ca2+ enters through the Ca2+ channels in the plasma membrane allowing for steady-level Ca2+ elevations in repetitive runs. Astrocytic Ca2+ responses originate from the intracellular stores, the depletion of which affects subsequent Ca2+ signals. Functionally, neuronal Ca2+ response reflects sensory input processed by neurons. Astrocytic Ca2+ dynamics is likely to provide metabolic and homeostatic support within the brain active milieu.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzqad019
Issue number4
Early online date29 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • astrocyte
  • Casignaling
  • in vivo brain imaging; brain active milieu; paired-run ratio
  • locomotion
  • neuron


Dive into the research topics of 'Dissociation Between Neuronal and Astrocytic Calcium Activity in Response to Locomotion in Mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this