Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of common neurodegenerative diseases, which shows motor symptoms
including tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity and postural instability. It also involves non-motor symptoms such as
cognitive impairment, mental manifestation, autonomic disorder and sensory disturbance. Although treatments to
improve the motor disability in PD are being assessed at present, the main challenge remains that is the development
of neuroprotective or disease-modifying treatments. Therefore, it is desirable to find approaches that can
inhibit the progression of dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Astrocytes are known to play an important role in the
maintenance of the neuronal environment and exert neuroprotective effects. Additionally, astrocyte dysfunction
increases the susceptibility of neurons to cytotoxicity. We have demonstrated neuroprotective approaches in parkinsonian
models in various studies targeting astrocytes. In this article, we summarize the neuroprotective function
of astrocytes in the brain, involvement of astrocyte dysfunction in neurodegeneration, and experimental approaches
to dopaminergic neuroprotection. We review findings reported in several papers including our own
studies. We also address target molecules and pivotal pathways in astrocytes for dopaminergic neuroprotection.
The review discusses new promising therapeutic strategies to prevent dopaminergic neurodegeneration in PD.
Keywords: Astrocyte, Parkinson's disease, neuroprotection, dopaminergic neuron, antioxidative molecules, Nrf2, xCT, 5-HT1A receptor.
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