Modification of Glial Response in Hibernation: A Patch-Clamp Study on Glial Cells Acutely Isolated from Hibernating Land Snail
Bataveljić, Danijela B.
Andjus, Pavle R.
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Hibernation is a dormant state of some animal species that enables them to survive harsh environmental conditions during the winter seasons. In the hibernating state, preservation of neuronal rhythmic activity at a low level is necessary for maintenance of suspended forms of behavior. As glial cells support rhythmic activity of neurons, preservation of brain function in the hibernating state implies accompanying modification of glial activity. A supportive role of glia in regulating neuronal activity is reflected through the activity of inwardly rectifying K+ channels (Kir). Therefore, we examined electrophysiological response, particularly Kir current response, of glial cells in mixture with neurons acutely isolated from active and hibernating land snail Helix pomatia. Our data show that hibernated glia have significantly lower inward current density, specific membrane conductance, and conductance density compared with active glia. The observed reduction could be attributed to the Kir currents, since the Ba2+-sensitive Kir current density was significantly lower in hibernated glia. Accordingly, a significant positive shift of the current reversal potential indicated a more depolarized state of hibernated glia. Data obtained show that modification of glial current response could be regulated by serotonin (5-HT) through an increase of cGMP as a secondary messenger, since extracellular addition of 5-HT or intracellular administration of cGMP to active glia induced a significant reduction of inward current density and thus mimicked the reduced response of hibernated glia. Lower Kir current density of hibernated glia accompanied the lower electrical activity of hibernated neurons, as revealed by a decrease in neuronal fast inward Na+ current density. Our findings reveal that glial response is reduced in the hibernating state and suggest seasonal modulation of glial activity. Maintenance of low glial activity in hibernation could be important for preservation of brain rhythmic activity and survival of the animal.