Pharmacological modulation of astrocytes and the role of cell type-specific histone modifications for the treatment of mood disorders

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2016 Feb:26:61-6. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2015.10.002. Epub 2015 Oct 26.


Astrocytes orchestrate arrangement and functions of neuronal circuits and of the blood-brain barrier. Dysfunctional astrocytes characterize mood disorders, here showcased by deregulation of the astrocyte end-feet protein Aquaporin-4 around blood vessels and, hypothetically, of the astrocyte-specific phagocytic protein MEGF10 to shape synapses. Development of mood disorders is often a result of 'gene × environment' interactions, regulated among others by histone modifications and related modulator enzymes, which rapidly promote adaptive responses. Thus, they represent ideal targets of drugs aimed at inducing stable effects with quick onsets. One of the prevalent features of histone modifications and their modulators is their cell-type specificity. Investigating cell type-specific epigenetic modulations upon drug administration might therefore help to implement therapeutic treatments.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Epigenomics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mood Disorders / genetics
  • Mood Disorders / metabolism*


  • Histones