Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol, Nov 2014


Sofroniew MV


In addition to their many functions in the healthy central nervous system (CNS), astrocytes respond to CNS damage and disease through a process called astrogliosis. For many decades, astrogliosis was sparsely studied and enigmatic. This article examines recent evidence supporting a definition of astrogliosis as a spectrum of heterogeneous potential changes in astrocytes that occur in a context-specific manner as determined by diverse signaling events that vary with the nature and severity of different CNS insults. Astrogliosis is associated with essential beneficial functions, but under specific circumstances can lead to harmful effects. Potential dysfunctions of astrocytes and astrogliosis are being identified that can contribute to, or be primary causes of, CNS disorders, leading to the notion of astrocytopathies. A conceptual framework is presented that allows consideration of normally occurring and dysfunctional astrogliosis and their different roles in CNS disorders.


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