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Cell Rep. 2018 Jan 2;22(1):269-285. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.12.039.

The Aging Astrocyte Transcriptome from Multiple Regions of the Mouse Brain.

Author information

1
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; Neurosciences Graduate Program, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
2
Razavi Newman Integrative Genomics and Bioinformatics Core , Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
3
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. Electronic address: nallen@salk.edu.

Abstract

Aging brains undergo cognitive decline, associated with decreased neuronal synapse number and function and altered metabolism. Astrocytes regulate neuronal synapse formation and function in development and adulthood, but whether these properties change during aging, contributing to neuronal dysfunction, is unknown. We addressed this by generating aged and adult astrocyte transcriptomes from multiple mouse brain regions. These data provide a comprehensive RNA-seq database of adult and aged astrocyte gene expression, available online as a resource. We identify astrocyte genes altered by aging across brain regions and regionally unique aging changes. Aging astrocytes show minimal alteration of homeostatic and neurotransmission-regulating genes. However, aging astrocytes upregulate genes that eliminate synapses and partially resemble reactive astrocytes. We further identified heterogeneous expression of synapse-regulating genes between astrocytes from different cortical regions. We find that alterations to astrocytes in aging create an environment permissive to synapse elimination and neuronal damage, potentially contributing to aging-associated cognitive decline.

KEYWORDS:

aging; astrocyte; neurodegeneration; synapse

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