In recent years research suggests that astrocyte networks, in addition to nutrient and waste processing functions, regulate
both structural and synaptic plasticity. To understand the biological mechanisms that underpin such plasticity requires the
development of cell level models that capture the mutual interaction between astrocytes and neurons. This paper presents
a detailed model of bidirectional signaling between astrocytes and neurons (the astrocyte-neuron model or AN model)
which yields new insights into the computational role of astrocyte-neuronal coupling. From a set of modeling studies we
demonstrate two significant findings. Firstly, that spatial signaling via astrocytes can relay a ‘‘learning signal’’ to remote
synaptic sites. Results show that slow inward currents cause synchronized postsynaptic activity in remote neurons and
subsequently allow Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity based learning to occur at the associated synapses. Secondly, that
bidirectional communication between neurons and astrocytes underpins dynamic coordination between neuron clusters.
Although our composite AN model is presently applied to simplified neural structures and limited to coordination between
localized neurons, the principle (which embodies structural, functional and dynamic complexity), and the modeling strategy
may be extended to coordination among remote neuron clusters.