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Physiol Rev. 2018 Jan 1;98(1):239-389. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00042.2016.

Physiology of Astroglia.

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The University of Manchester , Manchester , United Kingdom ; Achúcarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science , Bilbao , Spain ; Department of Neuroscience, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU and CIBERNED, Leioa, Spain ; Center for Basic and Translational Neuroscience, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen , Denmark ; and Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester Medical Center , Rochester, New York.


Astrocytes are neural cells of ectodermal, neuroepithelial origin that provide for homeostasis and defense of the central nervous system (CNS). Astrocytes are highly heterogeneous in morphological appearance; they express a multitude of receptors, channels, and membrane transporters. This complement underlies their remarkable adaptive plasticity that defines the functional maintenance of the CNS in development and aging. Astrocytes are tightly integrated into neural networks and act within the context of neural tissue; astrocytes control homeostasis of the CNS at all levels of organization from molecular to the whole organ.

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