Radially expanding transglial calcium waves in the intact cerebellum

Tycho M. Hoogland, Bernd Kuhn, Werner Göbel, Wenying Huang, Junichi Nakai, Fritjof Helmchen, Jane Flint, Samuel S.H. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Multicellular glial calcium waves may locally regulate neural activity or brain energetics. Here, we report a diffusion-driven astrocytic signal in the normal, intact brain that spans many astrocytic processes in a confined volume without fully encompassing any one cell. By using 2-photon microscopy in rodent cerebellar cortex labeled with fluorescent indicator dyes or the calcium-sensor protein G-CaMP2, we discovered spontaneous calcium waves that filled approximately ellipsoidal domains of Bergmann glia processes. Waves spread in 3 dimensions at a speed of 4-11 μm/s to a diameter of ≈50 μm, slowed during expansion, and were reversibly blocked by P2 receptor antagonists. Consistent with the hypothesis that ATP acts as a diffusible trigger of calcium release waves, local ejection of ATP triggered P2 receptor-mediated waves that were refractory to repeated activation. Transglial waves represent a means for purinergic signals to act with local specificity to modulate activity or energetics in local neural circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3496-3501
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 3 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • 2-photon microscopy
  • Astrocytes
  • Bergmann glia
  • G-CaMP2
  • In vivo


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