Glial cells and their association with neurones are fundamental for brain function. The
emergence of complex neurone-glial networks assures rapid information transfer, creating a sophisticated circuitry where
both types of neural cells work in concert, serving different activities. All glial cells, represented by astrocytes, oligodendrocytes,
microglia and NG2-glia, are essential for brain homeostasis and defence. Thus, glia are key not only for normal
central nervous system (CNS) function, but also to its dysfunction, being directly associated with all forms of neuropathological
processes. Therefore, the progression and outcome of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases depend on
glial reactions. In this review, we provide a concise account of recent data obtained from both human material and animal
models demonstrating the pathological involvement of glia in neurodegenerative processes, including Alzheimer's disease
(AD), as well as physiological ageing.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, Astrocytes, atrophy, gliosis, microglia, myelin, neurodegeneration, NG2-glia, oligodendrocytes.
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