Translational potential of astrocytes in brain disorders

Academic Article


  • Fundamentally, all brain disorders can be broadly defined as the homeostatic failure of this organ. As the brain is composed of many different cells types, including but not limited to neurons and glia, it is only logical that all the cell types/constituents could play a role in health and disease. Yet, for a long time the sole conceptualization of brain pathology was focused on the well-being of neurons. Here, we challenge this neuron-centric view and present neuroglia as a key element in neuropathology, a process that has a toll on astrocytes, which undergo complex morpho-functional changes that can in turn affect the course of the disorder. Such changes can be grossly identified as reactivity, atrophy with loss of function and pathological remodeling. We outline the pathogenic potential of astrocytes in variety of disorders, ranging from neurotrauma, infection, toxic damage, stroke, epilepsy, neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, Alexander disease to neoplastic changes seen in gliomas. We hope that in near future we would witness glial-based translational medicine with generation of deliverables for the containment and cure of disorders. We point out that such as a task will require a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach that will take in consideration the concerted operation of all the cell types in the brain.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Verkhratsky A; Steardo L; Parpura V; Montana V
  • Start Page

  • 188
  • End Page

  • 205
  • Volume

  • 144