Physiology of Astroglia

Physiol Rev. 2018 Jan 1;98(1):239-389. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00042.2016.


Astrocytes are neural cells of ectodermal, neuroepithelial origin that provide for homeostasis and defense of the central nervous system (CNS). Astrocytes are highly heterogeneous in morphological appearance; they express a multitude of receptors, channels, and membrane transporters. This complement underlies their remarkable adaptive plasticity that defines the functional maintenance of the CNS in development and aging. Astrocytes are tightly integrated into neural networks and act within the context of neural tissue; astrocytes control homeostasis of the CNS at all levels of organization from molecular to the whole organ.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Higher Nervous Activity / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism


  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, Cell Surface