General pathophysiology of astroglia

Alexei Verkhratsky, Margaret S. Ho, Nina Vardjan, Robert Zorec, Vladimir Parpura

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Astroglial cells are involved in most if not in all pathologies of the brain. These cells can change the morpho-functional properties in response to pathology or innate changes of these cells can lead to pathologies. Overall pathological changes in astroglia are complex and diverse and often vary with different disease stages. We classify astrogliopathologies into reactive astrogliosis, astrodegeneration with astroglial atrophy and loss of function, and pathological remodelling of astrocytes. Such changes can occur in neurological, neurodevelopmental, metabolic and psychiatric disorders as well as in infection and toxic insults. Mutation in astrocyte-specific genes leads to specific pathologies, such as Alexander disease, which is a leukodystrophy. We discuss changes in astroglia in the pathological context and identify some molecular entities underlying pathology. These entities within astroglia may repent targets for novel therapeutic intervention in the management of brain pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuroglia in Neurodegenerative Diseases
EditorsAlexei Verkhratsky, Margaret S. Ho, Robert Zorec, Vladimir Parpura
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-13-9913-8
ISBN (Print)978-981-13-9912-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Alexander disease
  • Astrocyte
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Infectious diseases
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Neuropathology
  • Neurotrauma
  • Psychiatric diseases
  • Sepsis-associated encephalopathy
  • Stroke
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Toxic encephalopathy


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