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Genes Dev. 2012 May 1;26(9):891-907. doi: 10.1101/gad.188326.112.

Astrocytes and disease: a neurodevelopmental perspective.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

Erratum in

  • Genes Dev. 2012 Jul 1;26(13):1508. Krenick, Robert [corrected to Krencik, Robert]; Ullian, Erik [corrected to Ullian, Erik M].


Astrocytes are no longer seen as a homogenous population of cells. In fact, recent studies indicate that astrocytes are morphologically and functionally diverse and play critical roles in neurodevelopmental diseases such as Rett syndrome and fragile X mental retardation. This review summarizes recent advances in astrocyte development, including the role of neural tube patterning in specification and developmental functions of astrocytes during synaptogenesis. We propose here that a precise understanding of astrocyte development is critical to defining heterogeneity and could lead advances in understanding and treating a variety of neuropsychiatric diseases.

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