Stress gates an astrocytic energy reservoir to impair synaptic plasticity

Ciaran Murphy-Royal, April D. Johnston, Andrew K.J. Boyce, Blanca Diaz-Castro, Adam Institoris, Govind Peringod, Oliver Zhang, Randy F. Stout, David C. Spray, Roger J. Thompson, Baljit S. Khakh, Jaideep S. Bains, Grant R. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Astrocytes support the energy demands of synaptic transmission and plasticity. Enduring changes in synaptic efficacy are highly sensitive to stress, yet whether changes to astrocyte bioenergetic control of synapses contributes to stress-impaired plasticity is unclear. Here we show in mice that stress constrains the shuttling of glucose and lactate through astrocyte networks, creating a barrier for neuronal access to an astrocytic energy reservoir in the hippocampus and neocortex, compromising long-term potentiation. Impairing astrocytic delivery of energy substrates by reducing astrocyte gap junction coupling with dominant negative connexin 43 or by disrupting lactate efflux was sufficient to mimic the effects of stress on long-term potentiation. Furthermore, direct restoration of the astrocyte lactate supply alone rescued stress-impaired synaptic plasticity, which was blocked by inhibiting neural lactate uptake. This gating of synaptic plasticity in stress by astrocytic metabolic networks indicates a broader role of astrocyte bioenergetics in determining how experience-dependent information is controlled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2014
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Stress gates an astrocytic energy reservoir to impair synaptic plasticity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this