Astrocytes and disease: a neurodevelopmental perspectiv

Anna V Molofsky, Robert Krencik, Erik M Ullian, Erik Ullian, Hui-hsin Tsai, Benjamin Deneen, William D Richardson, Ben A Barres, David H Rowitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

464 Scopus citations


Astrocytes are no longer seen as a homogenous population of cells. In fact, recent studies indicate that astrocytes are morphologically and functionally diverse and play critical roles in neurodevelopmental diseases such as Rett syndrome and fragile X mental retardation. This review summarizes recent advances in astrocyte development, including the role of neural tube patterning in specification and developmental functions of astrocytes during synaptogenesis. We propose here that a precise understanding of astrocyte development is critical to defining heterogeneity and could lead advances in understanding and treating a variety of neuropsychiatric diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-907
Number of pages17
JournalGenes & development
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Astrocytes
  • Heredodegenerative Disorders, Nervous System
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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