Astrocyte and Oligodendrocyte Cross-Talk in the Central Nervous System

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Abstract

Over the last decade knowledge of the role of astrocytes in central nervous system (CNS) neuroinflammatory diseases has changed dramatically. Rather than playing a merely passive role in response to damage it is clear that astrocytes actively maintain CNS homeostasis by influencing pH, ion and water balance, the plasticity of neurotransmitters and synapses, cerebral blood flow, and are important immune cells. During disease astrocytes become reactive and hypertrophic, a response that was long considered to be pathogenic. However, recent studies reveal that astrocytes also have a strong tissue regenerative role. Whilst most astrocyte research focuses on modulating neuronal function and synaptic transmission little is known about the cross-talk between astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, the myelinating cells of the CNS. This communication occurs via direct cell-cell contact as well as via secreted cytokines, chemokines, exosomes, and signalling molecules. Additionally, this cross-talk is important for glial development, triggering disease onset and progression, as well as stimulating regeneration and repair. Its critical role in homeostasis is most evident when this communication fails. Here, we review emerging evidence of astrocyte-oligodendrocyte communication in health and disease. Understanding the pathways involved in this cross-talk will reveal important insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of CNS diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCells
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

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