Astrocytes are key cells for adequate brain formation and regulation of cerebral blood flow as
well as for the maintenance of neuronal metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis and exocytosis, and synaptic
transmission. Many of these functions are intrinsically related to neurodegeneration, allowing refocusing
on the role of astrocytes in physiological and neurodegenerative states. Indeed, emerging evidence
in the field indicates that abnormalities in the astrocytic function are involved in the pathogenesis
of multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD),
Huntington’s Disease (HD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In the present review, we highlight
the physiological role of astrocytes in the CNS, including their communication with other cells in
the brain. Furthermore, we discuss exciting findings and novel experimental approaches that elucidate
the role of astrocytes in multiple neurological disorders.
Keywords: Astrocytes, neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis, neuroinflammation.
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