Role of Astrocytes in Brain Function and Disease

Marta Sidoryk-Wegrzynowicz, Michal Wegrzynowicz, Eunsook Lee, Aaron B. Bowman, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Astrocytes assume multiple roles in maintaining an optimally suited milieu for neuronal function. Select astrocytic functions include the maintenance of redox potential, the production of trophic factors, the regulation of neurotransmitter and ion concentrations, and the removal of toxins and debris from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Impairments in these and other functions, as well as physiological reactions of astrocytes to injury, can trigger or exacerbate neuronal dysfunction. This review addresses select metabolic interactions between neurons and astrocytes and emphasizes the role of astrocytes in mediating and amplifying the progression of several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), hepatic encephalopathy (HE), hyperammonemia (HA), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalToxicologic pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • astrocyte
  • nervous system
  • neurodegenerative diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology


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