Unravelling and Exploiting Astrocyte Dysfunction in Huntington's Disease

Trends Neurosci. 2017 Jul;40(7):422-437. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2017.05.002. Epub 2017 May 31.


Astrocytes are abundant within mature neural circuits and are involved in brain disorders. Here, we summarize our current understanding of astrocytes and Huntington's disease (HD), with a focus on correlative and causative dysfunctions of ion homeostasis, calcium signaling, and neurotransmitter clearance, as well as on the use of transplanted astrocytes to produce therapeutic benefit in mouse models of HD. Overall, the data suggest that astrocyte dysfunction is an important contributor to the onset and progression of some HD symptoms in mice. Additional exploration of astrocytes in HD mouse models and humans is needed and may provide new therapeutic opportunities to explore in conjunction with neuronal rescue and repair strategies.

Keywords: EAAT2; GAT3; GCaMP; GLT1; HD; KCNJ10; Kir4.1; astrocyte; calcium.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Astrocytes / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / pathology
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology*
  • Huntington Disease / therapy*