Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroscience. 2016 May 26;323:170-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.01.007. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Astrocytes in physiological aging and Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Achucarro Center for Neuroscience, IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, 48011 Bilbao, Spain; Department of Neurosciences, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU and CIBERNED, Leioa, Spain. Electronic address: j.rodriguez-arellano@ikerbasque.org.
2
Department of Neurobiology, Civitan International Research Center and Center for Glial Biology in Medicine, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, Atomic Force Microscopy & Nanotechnology Laboratories, 1719 6th Avenue South, CIRC 429, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294-0021, USA; Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, Radmile Matejčić 2, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia.
3
University of Ljubljana, Institute of Pathophysiology, Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology and Molecular Cell Physiology, Zaloska cesta 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; Celica, BIOMEDICAL, Technology Park 24, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
4
Achucarro Center for Neuroscience, IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, 48011 Bilbao, Spain; Department of Neurosciences, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU and CIBERNED, Leioa, Spain; University of Ljubljana, Institute of Pathophysiology, Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology and Molecular Cell Physiology, Zaloska cesta 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; Celica, BIOMEDICAL, Technology Park 24, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK. Electronic address: Alexej.Verkhratsky@manchester.ac.uk.

Abstract

Astrocytes are fundamental for homoeostasis, defence and regeneration of the central nervous system. Loss of astroglial function and astroglial reactivity contributes to the aging of the brain and to neurodegenerative diseases. Changes in astroglia in aging and neurodegeneration are highly heterogeneous and region-specific. In animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) astrocytes undergo degeneration and atrophy at the early stages of pathological progression, which possibly may alter the homeostatic reserve of the brain and contribute to early cognitive deficits. At later stages of AD reactive astrocytes are associated with neurite plaques, the feature commonly found in animal models and in human diseased tissue. In animal models of the AD reactive astrogliosis develops in some (e.g. in the hippocampus) but not in all regions of the brain. For instance, in entorhinal and prefrontal cortices astrocytes do not mount gliotic response to emerging β-amyloid deposits. These deficits in reactivity coincide with higher vulnerability of these regions to AD-type pathology. Astroglial morphology and function can be regulated through environmental stimulation and/or medication suggesting that astrocytes can be regarded as a target for therapies aimed at the prevention and cure of neurodegenerative disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer’s disease; aging; astrocyte; neurodegeneration; neuroglia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center