Regulation of Electrolytes and pH in CNS Extracellular Space

As noted, astrocytes are connected by numerous gap junctions, permitting electronic coupling and passage of small molecules, especially ions. This feature enhances their spongelike ability to take up unwanted elements from the limited extracellular space in the CNS. Regulation of potassium ions therein is critical, because potassium ions could otherwise reach values incompatible with normal synaptic activity. Other significant astrocytic regulation involves extracellular pH by removal of CO2.

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