Affiliations: Institute of Biosciences, São Paulo State University, Brazil. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Calcium waves are generated from the astrocyte endoplasmatic reticulum, in response to neuronal electrochemical stimulation. The waves feed back on neurons, modulating (reinforcing or depressing) their activity and the resulting behavior. How do these waves propagate from the astrocyte endoplasmatic reticulum to the synaptic space and reach neuron membrane channels? An exploratory model is elaborated, on the basis of complex interactions of ions, water negative exclusion zones and charged sites of proteins. The mechanism includes a role for the extracellular matrix to guide the hydro-ionic wave towards regions of the neuronal membrane where they are functional. The function of the waves is explored, suggesting that their dynamic patterns compose an adequate substrate for feelings (from basic feelings as hunger and thirst, pain and pleasure, to more complex ones, such as joy and sadness, love and hate).