Intracellular polyamines enhance astrocytic coupling

Jan Benedikt, Mikhail Inyushin, Yuriy V. Kucheryavykh, Yomarie Rivera, Lilia Y. Kucheryavykh, Colin G. Nichols, Misty J. Eaton, Serguei N. Skatchkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Spermine (SPM) and spermidine, endogenous polyamines with the ability to modulate various ion channels and receptors in the brain, exert neuroprotective, antidepressant, antioxidant, and other effects in vivo such as increasing longevity. These polyamines are preferably accumulated in astrocytes, and we hypothesized that SPM increases glial intercellular communication by interacting with glial gap junctions. The results obtained in situ, using Lucifer yellow propagation in the astrocytic syncitium of 21-25-day-old rat CA1 hippocampal slices, showed reduced coupling when astrocytes were dialyzed with standard intracellular solutions without SPM. However, there was a robust increase in the spreading of Lucifer yellow through gap junctions to neighboring astrocytes when the cells were patched with intracellular solutions containing 1 mM SPM, a physiological concentration in glia. Lucifer yellow propagation was inhibited by gap junction blockers. Our findings show that the glial syncitium propagates SPM through gap junctions and further indicate a new role of polyamines in the regulation of the astroglial network under both normal and pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1025
Number of pages5
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 5 2012


  • astrocyte coupling
  • dye propagation
  • gap junction channels
  • polyamines
  • spermine


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