Papers in this issue concern extrasynaptic transmission, namely release of signalling molecules by exocytosis or diffusion from neuronal cell bodies, dendrites, axons and glia. Problems discussed concern the molecules, their secretion and importance for normal function and disease. Molecules secreted extrasynaptically include transmitters, peptides, hormones and nitric oxide. For extrasynaptic secretion, trains of action potentials are required, and the time course of release is slower than at synapses. Questions arise concerning the mechanism of extrasynaptic secretion: how does it differ from the release observed at synaptic terminals and gland cells? What kinds of vesicles take part? Is release accomplished through calcium entry, SNAP and SNARE proteins? A clear difference is in the role of molecules released synaptically and extrasynaptically. After extrasynaptic release, molecules reach distant as well as nearby cells, and thereby produce long-lasting changes over large volumes of brain. Such changes can affect circuits for motor performance and mood states. An example with clinical relevance is dyskinesia of patients treated with l-DOPA for Parkinson's disease. Extrasynaptically released transmitters also evoke responses in glial cells, which in turn release molecules that cause local vasodilatation and enhanced circulation in regions of the brain that are active.
Última actualización: 16/03/2018