Astrocytes conspire with neurons during progression of neurological disease

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Oct;22(5):850-8. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Apr 3.


As astrocytes are becoming recognized as important mediators of normal brain function, studies into their roles in neurological disease have gained significance. Across mouse models for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, astrocytes are considered key regulators of disease progression. In Rett syndrome and Parkinson's disease, astrocytes can even initiate certain disease phenotypes. Numerous potential mechanisms have been offered to explain these results, but research into the functions of astrocytes in disease is just beginning. Crucially, in vivo verification of in vitro data is still necessary, as well as a deeper understanding of the complex and relatively unexplored interactions between astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neurons / physiology*