IMR Press / JIN / Volume 21 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2104112
Open Access Review
Astrocytes Imagined
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1 Biology Department, Neuroscience Program, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT 06117, USA
*Correspondence: (Andrew O. Koob)
Academic Editor: Rafael Franco
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2022, 21(4), 112;
Submitted: 31 December 2021 | Revised: 22 February 2022 | Accepted: 4 March 2022 | Published: 7 June 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

The cellular, molecular and physiological basis of cognition has proved elusive until emerging studies on astrocytes. The appearance of a deliberate aggregating element in cellular neurophysiology was difficult to satisfy computationally with excitatory and inhibitory neuron physiology alone. Similarly, the complex behavioral outputs of cognition are challenging to test experimentally. Astrocytic reception and control of synaptic communication has provided the possibility for study of the missing element. The advancement of genetic and neurophysiological techniques have now demonstrated astrocytes respond to neural input and subsequently provide the ability for neural synchronization and assembly at multiple and single synaptic levels. Considering the most recent evidence, it is becoming clear that astrocytes contribute to cognition. Is it possible then that our cognitive experience is essentially the domain of astrocyte physiology, ruminating on neural input, and controlling neural output? Although the molecular and cellular complexities of cognition in the human nervous system cannot be overstated, in order to gain a better understanding of the current evidence, an astrocyte centric basis of cognition will be considered from a philosophical, biological and computational perspective.

learning and memory
neural synchrony
computational neuroscience
philosophy of mind
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