Deep brain stimulation and the role of astrocytes

Mol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb;17(2):124-31, 115. doi: 10.1038/mp.2011.61. Epub 2011 May 31.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a powerful surgical therapy for the management of treatment-resistant movement disorders, epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders. Although DBS may be clinically effective in many cases, its mode of action is still elusive. It is unclear which neural cell types are involved in the mechanism of DBS, and how high-frequency stimulation of these cells may lead to alleviation of the clinical symptoms. Neurons have commonly been a main focus in the many theories explaining the working mechanism of DBS. Recent data, however, demonstrates that astrocytes may be active players in the DBS mechanism of action. In this review article, we will discuss the potential role of reactive and neurogenic astrocytes (neural progenitors) in DBS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Epilepsy / therapy
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Movement Disorders / therapy
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / physiology*