Regionally encoded functional heterogeneity of astrocytes in health and disease: A perspective

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Abstract

Increasing evidence has suggested that astrocytes demonstrate striking regionally allocated functional heterogeneity. Here, we discuss how this spatiotemporally encoded diversity determines the astrocytic phenotype along a finely grained spectrum from neuroprotective to deleterious states. With increasing recognition of their diverse and evolving roles in the central neuraxis, astrocytes now represent a tractable cellular target for therapies aiming to restore neural circuit integrity in a broad range of neurodegenerative disorders. Understanding the determinants of astrocyte physiology along with the true extent of heterogeneity in their regional and subregional functions will ultimately inform therapeutic strategy in neurodegenerative diseases.

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Journal Glia
Pages Epub ahead of print
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