Astrocyte barriers to neurotoxic inflammation
Astrocytes form borders (glia limitans) that separate neural from non-neural tissue along perivascular spaces, meninges and tissue lesions in the CNS. Transgenic loss-of-function studies reveal that astrocyte borders and scars serve as functional barriers that restrict the entry of inflammatory cells into CNS parenchyma in health and disease. Astrocytes also have powerful pro-inflammatory potential. Thus, astrocytes are emerging as pivotal regulators of CNS inflammatory responses. This Review discusses evidence that astrocytes have crucial roles in attracting and restricting CNS inflammation, with important implications for diverse CNS disorders.