A fantastic feature of neural networks is their ability to undergo rapid structural and functional changes in response to challenges to maintain their function. In the supraoptic nucleus (SON), which represents one of the nuclei recruited during hydroelectrolytic disorders, it is known that significant structural remodeling results in changes in morphology, activity, and function of the cells that harbor this nucleus. However, from an electrical standpoint, the consequences of such changes are still poorly explored, especially concerning communication between astrocytes and neurons. In this sense, the subproject that will be conducted by Master's student Niltra Beltrão Rosa is essential for us to establish, in our experimental model, whether glial cells, particularly astrocytes, still communicate with magnocellular neurons during dehydration. This stimulus causes plastic alterations of the neuronal circuitry of this nucleus, which, depending on the intensity, results in retraction of the astrocytic processes surrounding the neuronal body. Thus, our objective is to investigate whether astrocytes still contribute to the modulation of magnocellular neuron activity after dehydration. To do so, we intend to use genetically modified animals in this study that allow us to modulate the activity of astrocytes. At the same time, patch-clamp electrical recordings will be made in the magnocellular neurons of the SON. Immunofluorescence experiments will also identify the recorded neuron and reveal its phenotype. The results obtained will provide insights into the contribution of astrocytes in controlling the excitability of magnocellular neurons during dehydration, as well as the synaptic and biophysical mechanisms involved in this process.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: