Editorial Views  |   March 2019
Wake Up, Neurons! Astrocytes Calling
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin (M.P., R.A.P.); and Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California (M.B.M.).
  • Corresponding article on page 423.
    Corresponding article on page 423.×
  • Accepted for publication November 26, 2018.
    Accepted for publication November 26, 2018.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Perouansky: mperouansky@wisc.edu
Article Information
Editorial Views / Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems / Endocrine and Metabolic Systems / Patient Safety / Pharmacology
Editorial Views   |   March 2019
Wake Up, Neurons! Astrocytes Calling
Anesthesiology 3 2019, Vol.130, 361-363. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002589
Anesthesiology 3 2019, Vol.130, 361-363. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002589
Roughly 20 yr ago, the concept of the “tripartite synapse” was introduced. It indicated that neuroglia might need to be promoted from a structurally supportive “neuronal putty” to an equal partnership with neurons. Since then, glial cells have constantly expanded their reach into every aspect of brain pathology and physiology. In addition to forming an integral part of the neuronal-glial-vascular unit, controlling local blood flow and supplying neurons with energy substrates and antioxidants, glia organize and coordinate the defense of the brain from intruders. Glia also now emerge as surprising actors in anesthetic mechanisms. As reported by Ramadasan-Nair et al. in this issue,1  introducing a mutation that interferes with energy production in glia leads to delayed emergence from anesthesia. This phenotype is complementary to the heightened sensitivity to induction of anesthesia that occurs when the very same mutation is introduced into the glutamatergic neurons. This finding thus adds an intriguing layer to our understanding of the mechanisms by which volatile anesthetics suppress central nervous system (CNS) function.