Astrocytes are the most abundant cells in the brain and play an important role in the homeostasis and maintenance of the brain. Furthermore, astrocytes play a key role in brain protection and in functional recovery from injuries. Impairment in astrocytes activity may promote neurodegeneration and, eventually, retraction of neuronal synapses, which leads to cognitive deficits found in neurodegenrative diseases, such as Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia affecting more than 18 million people worldwide. The main cause of AD is generally attributed to the increased production and accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ), in association with neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) formation. In AD patients brain, reactive astrocytes are integral components of neuritic plaques. Astrocytic activation seems to be particularly prominent around Aβ deposits both in the brain parenchyma and in the cerebrovasculature. Furthermore, recent evidence from AD patients suggests that pathological changes in the morphology of astrocyte occur prior to the appearance of Aβ plaques. The focus of this review is on astrocytic cells and their role in the progression of AD.
Keywords: Astrocyte, Alzheimer's disease, imflammation, neuroprotection, homeostasis, brain protection, amyloid-β, astrogliosis, astrocyte atrophy, neuroinflammation
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