Principles of Astrogliopathology

Alexei Verkhratsky, Baoman Li, Caterina Scuderi, Vladimir Parpura

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


The role of astrocytes in the nervous system pathology was early on embraced by neuroscientists at end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, only to be pushed aside by neurone-centric dogmas during most of the twentieth century. However, the last decade of the twentieth century and the twenty-first century have brought the astroglial “renaissance”, which has put astroglial cells as key players in pathophysiology of most if not all disorders of the nervous system and has regarded astroglia as a fertile ground for therapeutic intervention. Astrocytic contribution to neuropathology can be primary, whereby cell-autonomous changes, such as mutations in gene encoding for glial fibrillary acidic protein, can drive the pathologic progression, in this example, Alexander disease. They can also be secondary, when astrocytes respond to a variety of insults to the nervous tissue. Regardless of their origin, being cell-autonomous or not, changes in astroglia that occur in pathology, that is, astrogliopathology, can be contemporary and arbitrary classified into four forms: (i) reactive astrogliosis, (ii) astrocytic atrophy with loss of function, (iii) pathological remodelling of astrocytes and (iv) astrodegeneration morphologically manifested as clasmatodendrosis. Inevitably, as with any other classification, this classification of astrogliopathology awaits its revision that shall be rooted in new discoveries and concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAstrocytes in Psychiatric Disorders
EditorsBaoman Li, Vladimir Parpura, Alexei Verkhratsky, Caterina Scuderi
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783030773755
ISBN (Print)9783030773748
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neurobiology
ISSN (Print)2190-5215
ISSN (Electronic)2190-5223


  • astrocyte
  • astrocytic atrophy
  • neuropathology
  • pathological remodelling
  • reactive astrogliosis


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