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Nat Neurosci. 2015 Jul;18(7):942-52. doi: 10.1038/nn.4043.

Diversity of astrocyte functions and phenotypes in neural circuits.

Author information

1
1] Department of Physiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA. [2] Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
2
Department of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Abstract

Astrocytes tile the entire CNS. They are vital for neural circuit function, but have traditionally been viewed as simple, homogenous cells that serve the same essential supportive roles everywhere. Here, we summarize breakthroughs that instead indicate that astrocytes represent a population of complex and functionally diverse cells. Physiological diversity of astrocytes is apparent between different brain circuits and microcircuits, and individual astrocytes display diverse signaling in subcellular compartments. With respect to injury and disease, astrocytes undergo diverse phenotypic changes that may be protective or causative with regard to pathology in a context-dependent manner. These new insights herald the concept that astrocytes represent a diverse population of genetically tractable cells that mediate neural circuit-specific roles in health and disease.

PMID:
26108722
PMCID:
PMC5258184
DOI:
10.1038/nn.4043
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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