© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Ageing of the brain is the major risk factor for neurodegenerative disorders that result in cognitive decline and senile dementia. Ageing astrocytes undergo complex and region specific remodelling which can reflect life-long adaptive plasticity. In neurodegeneration, astroglial cells are similarly a subject for morpho-functional changes hampering the homoeostasis, defence and regeneration of the central nervous system. Region-specific astroglial atrophy with the loss of function and astroglial reactivity have been reported in virtually all forms of neurodegenerative pathologies. Modulating these astroglia changes may represent a fertile ground for novel therapeutic intervention strategies to prevent, delay progression and/or ameliorate pathology. While at present this bodacious goal represents a wishful thinking, further understanding of astroglial role in ageing and neurodegeneration could bring us closer to laying the foundations for such cell-specific therapeutic approaches.