Astrocytic Calcium Dynamics Along the Pain Pathway

Jeiwon Cho, Yeowool Huh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Astrocytes, once thought to be passive cells merely filling the space between neurons in the nervous system, are receiving attention as active modulators of the brain and spinal cord physiology by providing nutrients, maintaining homeostasis, and modulating synaptic transmission. Accumulating evidence indicates that astrocytes are critically involved in chronic pain regulation. Injury induces astrocytes to become reactive, and recent studies suggest that reactive astrocytes can have either neuroprotective or neurodegenerative effects. While the exact mechanisms underlying the transition from resting astrocytes to reactive astrocytes remain unknown, astrocytic calcium increase, coordinated by inflammatory molecules, has been suggested to trigger this transition. In this mini review article, we will discuss the roles of astrocytic calcium, channels contributing to calcium dynamics in astrocytes, astrocyte activations along the pain pathway, and possible relationships between astrocytic calcium dynamics and chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number594216
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Ministry of Science ICT through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants: NRF-2018M3C7A1024736, NRF-2018R1C1B6002210, and NRF-2019R1A2C2088377.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Cho and Huh.


  • astrocyte
  • calcium
  • calcium channels
  • chronic pain
  • inflammatory pain
  • neuropathic pain
  • pain pathway


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