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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2015 Apr 15;7(6). pii: a020628. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a020628.

Astrocytes in neurodegenerative disease.

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Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, New York, New York 10032.


Astrocytes contribute to the maintenance of the health and function of the central nervous system (CNS). Thus, it is not surprising that these multifunctional cells have been implicated in the onset and progression of several neurodegenerative diseases. The involvement of astrocytes in the neuropathology of these diseases is likely a consequence of both the loss of normal homeostatic functions and gain of toxic functions. Intracellular aggregates in astrocytes are a common feature of various neurodegenerative diseases, and these aggregates perturb normal astrocytic functions in ways that can be harmful to neuronal viability. Here, we review the role of astrocytes in neurodegenerative diseases, focusing on their dysfunction in Huntington's disease (HD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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