Astrocytes are the most populous glial subtype and are critical for brain function. Despite this, historically there have been few studies into the role that they may have in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, however, several studies have determined that genes known to have a causative role in the development of PD are expressed in astrocytes and have important roles in astrocyte function. Here, we review these recent developments and discuss their impact on our understanding of the pathophysiology of PD, and the implications that this might have for its treatment.
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