Neuron-astroglial interactions in cell-fate commitment and maturation in the central nervous system

Neurochem Res. 2012 Nov;37(11):2402-18. doi: 10.1007/s11064-012-0798-x. Epub 2012 May 22.


Neuron-astroglia interactions play a key role in several events of brain development, such as neuronal generation, migration, survival, and differentiation; axonal growth; and synapse formation and function. While there is compelling evidence of the effects of astrocyte factors on neurons, their effects on astrocytes have not been fully determined. In this review, we will focus on the role of neurons in astrocyte generation and maturation. Further, we highlight the great heterogeneity and diversity of astroglial and neural progenitors such as radial glia cells, and discuss the importance of the variety of cellular interactions in controlling the structural and functional organization of the brain. Finally, we present recent data on a new role of astrocytes in neuronal maturation, as mediators of the action of biolipids in the cerebral cortex. We will argue that the functional architecture of the brain depends on an intimate neuron-glia partnership, by briefly discussing the emerging view of how neuron-astrocyte dysfunctions might be associated with neurodegenerative diseases and neurological disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Central Nervous System / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / cytology*