Here we provide evidence that astrocytes affect neuronal synaptogenesis by the process of adhesion. Local contact with astrocytes via integrin receptors elicited protein kinase C (PKC) activation in individual dissociated neurons cultured in astrocyte-conditioned medium. This activation, initially focal, soon spread throughout the entire neuron. We then demonstrated pharmacologically that the arachidonic acid cascade, triggered by the integrin reception, is responsible for the global activation of PKC. Local astrocytic contact also facilitated excitatory synaptogenesis throughout the neuron, a process which could be blocked by inhibitors of both integrins and PKC. Thus, propagation of PKC signaling represents an underlying mechanism for global neuronal maturation following local astrocyte adhesion.
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