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Potassium spatial buffering
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Potassium spatial buffering

Potassium Spatial Buffering is a mechanism for the regulation of extracellular potassium concentration by astrocytes. The depolarization of neurons tends to raise potassium concentration in the extracellular fluid. If a significant rise occurs, it will interfere with neuronal signaling by depolarizing neurons. Astrocytes have large numbers of potassium ion channels facilitating removal of potassium ions from the extracellular fluid. They are taken up at one region of the astrocyte and then distributed throughout the cytoplasm of the cell, and further to its neighbors via gap junctions. This keeps extracellular potassium at levels that prevent interference with normal propagation of an action potential.






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