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Astrocyte Reactivity and Reactive Astrogliosis: Costs and Benefits

Journal article
Authors Milos Pekny
Marcela Pekna
Published in Physiological Reviews
Volume 94
Issue 4
Pages 1077-1098
ISSN 0031-9333
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 1077-1098
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00041.20...
Keywords SPINAL-CORD-INJURY, FIBRILLARY ACIDIC PROTEIN, BLOOD-BRAIN-BARRIER, NEURONAL CEROID-LIPOFUSCINOSIS, CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM, AMYOTROPHIC-LATERAL-SCLEROSIS, NEURAL STEM-CELLS, CHONDROITIN SULFATE, PROTEOGLYCANS, TRANSLATIONAL PROFILING APPROACH, IMPROVES FUNCTIONAL, RECOVERY, Physiology
Subject categories Physiology

Abstract

Astrocytes are the most abundant cells in the central nervous system (CNS) that provide nutrients, recycle neurotransmitters, as well as fulfill a wide range of other homeostasis maintaining functions. During the past two decades, astrocytes emerged also as increasingly important regulators of neuronal functions including the generation of new nerve cells and structural as well as functional synapse remodeling. Reactive gliosis or reactive astrogliosis is a term coined for the morphological and functional changes seen in astroglial cells/astrocytes responding to CNS injury and other neurological diseases. Whereas this defensive reaction of astrocytes is conceivably aimed at handling the acute stress, limiting tissue damage, and restoring homeostasis, it may also inhibit adaptive neural plasticity mechanisms underlying recovery of function. Understanding the multifaceted roles of astrocytes in the healthy and diseased CNS will undoubtedly contribute to the development of treatment strategies that will, in a context-dependent manner and at appropriate time points, modulate reactive astrogliosis to promote brain repair and reduce the neurological impairment.

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