© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have shown much promise in neurobiology and biomedicine. Their structural stability and ease of chemical modification make them compatible for biological applications. In this review, we discuss the effects that chemically functionalized CNTs, applied as colloidal solutes or used as strata, have on the morpho-functional properties of astrocytes, the most abundant cells present in the brain, with an insight into the potential use of CNTs in neural prostheses.