Astrocytes regulate the response of the central nervous system to disease and injury and have been hypothesized to actively kill neurons in neurodegenerative disease1-6. Here we report an approach to isolate one component of the long-sought astrocyte-derived toxic factor5,6. Notably, instead of a protein, saturated lipids contained in APOE and APOJ lipoparticles mediate astrocyte-induced toxicity. Eliminating the formation of long-chain saturated lipids by astrocyte-specific knockout of the saturated lipid synthesis enzyme ELOVL1 mitigates astrocyte-mediated toxicity in vitro as well as in a model of acute axonal injury in vivo. These results suggest a mechanism by which astrocytes kill cells in the central nervous system.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.