About this Research Topic
Astrocytes are now viewed as active partners to neurons. They participate in multiple brain functions such as neurotransmitter recycling, trophic support, antioxidant defence, ionic homeostasis, inflammatory modulation, neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling, neurogenesis, and synaptic plasticity. In addition to this crucial involvement in brain physiology, it is well known that astrocytes adopt a reactive phenotype under most acute and chronic pathological conditions such as ischemia, trauma, brain cancer, epilepsy, demyelinating and neurodegenerative diseases, but the functional impact of astrocyte reactivity is still unclear.
During the last decades, the development of innovative approaches to image and monitor astrocytes have significantly improved our understanding of their prominent role in brain function and their contribution to disease states. In particular, genetic tools and imaging techniques achieving high spatial and temporal resolution have open up new avenues for the study of astrocytes in situ.
We are launching this Research Topic to illustrate how recent methodological advances contribute to decipher astrocyte roles in health and disease. We want to particularly emphasize the diversity and potency of new imaging and monitoring techniques such as high resolution microscopy, electrophysiology, optogenetics, positron emission tomography and nuclear magnetic resonance. Other astrocyte-targeted approaches such as transgenic mouse modelling, gene transfer, cell-fate mapping and genomic analysis have also proved powerful to characterize astrocytes in situ. We call for papers (primary research articles, reviews, opinions, technology reports…) that illustrate how original methodological approaches allow understanding astrocyte function in the normal or diseased brain.
This Research Topic aims at providing a cutting edge view of techniques, approaches and models to study astrocytes in health and disease and to achieve new discoveries on these extraordinary cells.
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