Defining the role of astrocytes in neuromodulation

Astrocytes undergo elevations in intracellular calcium following activation of metabotropic receptors, which may trigger glutamate secretion and excitation of surrounding neurons. In this issue of Neuron, Fiacco et al. use transgenic mice that express a foreign G(q)-coupled receptor in astrocytes to show that selective stimulation of astrocytes is not sufficient to induce the release of glutamate.