Although glial proliferation of the epileptic loci is recognized for more than a century in certain focal epilepsies,
the role of astrocytes in epileptic conditions is receiving significant attention only in recent years. The present review
will highlight current knowledge about the various ways astrocytes control neuronal excitability and contribute to genesis,
maintenance and suppression of seizures. Besides the widely recognized astrocytic tasks like glutamate clearance, the role
of gliotransmission, glutamate, GABA and ATP release as well as gap junctional communication will also be discussed
along with the contribution of blood-brain barrier dysfunction, inflammatory pathways and alterations in mircoRNA expression
profile to epilepsy. The mechanisms described will help to understand the astrocytic mechanisms contributing to
the antiepileptic effect of existing anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) and current therapeutic strategies and also signifies the potential
of specific astrocyte-based AED development.
Keywords: Astrocytes, blood-brain barrier, epilepsy, gap junctions, gliotransmission, inflammation.
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