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Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and the astrocyte intermediate filament system in diseases of the central nervous system

Journal article
Authors E. M. Hol
Milos Pekny
Published in Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Volume 32
Pages 121-130
ISSN 0955-0674
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 121-130
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ceb.2015.02.00...
Keywords SPINAL-CORD-INJURY, REACTIVE ASTROCYTES, MICE DEFICIENT, ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE, SUBVENTRICULAR ZONE, RETINAL-DETACHMENT, ALEXANDER-DISEASE, MOUSE MODELS, MULLER CELLS, EXPRESSION, Cell Biology
Subject categories Cell biology

Abstract

Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is the hallmark intermediate filament (IF; also known as nanofilament) protein in astrocytes, a main type of glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS). Astrocytes have a range of control and homeostatic functions in health and disease. Astrocytes assume a reactive phenotype in acute CNS trauma, ischemia, and in neurodegenerative diseases. This coincides with an upregulation and rearrangement of the IFs, which form a highly complex system composed of GFAP (10 isoforms), vimentin, synemin, and nestin. We begin to unravel the function of the IF system of astrocytes and in this review we discuss its role as an important crisis-command center coordinating cell responses in situations connected to cellular stress, which is a central component of many neurological diseases.

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