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Br J Pharmacol. 2019 Jan 12. doi: 10.1111/bph.14568. [Epub ahead of print]

Don't forget astrocytes when targeting Alzheimer's disease.

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Neuroscience Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, USA.
Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, USA.
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Astrocytes are essential for CNS health, regulating homeostasis, metabolism, and synaptic transmission. In addition to these and many other physiological roles, the pathological impact of astrocytes ("reactive astrocytes") in acute trauma and chronic disease like Alzheimer's disease (AD) is well established. Growing evidence supports a fundamental and active role of astrocytes in multiple neurodegenerative diseases. With a growing interest in normal astrocyte biology, and countless studies on changes in astrocyte function in the context of disease, it may be a surprise that no therapies exist incorporating astrocytes as key targets. Here, we examine unintentional effects of current AD therapies on astrocyte function and theorize how astrocytes may be intentionally targeted for more efficacious therapeutic outcomes. Given their integral role in normal neuronal functioning, incorporating astrocytes as key criteria for AD drug development can only lead to more effective therapies for the millions of AD sufferers worldwide.


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