No âmbito do projeto de investigação 207/14 - The role of astrocytes in complex cognitive processing, financiado pela Fundação BIAL, a equipa de investigação liderada por João Filipe Oliveira, publicou o artigo Astrocytic signaling supports hippocampal–prefrontal theta synchronization and cognitive function na revista GLIA.
Astrocytes interact with neurons at the cellular level through modulation of synaptic formation, maturation, and function, but the impact of such interaction into behavior remains unclear. Here, we studied the dominant negative SNARE (dnSNARE) mouse model to dissect the role of astrocyte-derived signaling in corticolimbic circuits, with implications for cognitive processing. We found that the blockade of gliotransmitter release in astrocytes triggers a critical desynchronization of neural theta oscillations between dorsal hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Moreover, we found a strong cognitive impairment in tasks depending on this network. Importantly, the supplementation with d-serine completely restores hippocampal–prefrontal theta synchronization and rescues the spatial memory and long-term memory of dnSNARE mice. We provide here novel evidence of long distance network modulation by astrocytes, with direct implications to cognitive function.