About this Research Topic
Background: Astrocytes are specialized glia vital for neural circuit function, and represent a population of complex and functionally diverse cells. Physiological diversity of astrocytes is apparent between different brain circuits and microcircuits, and individual astrocytes display diverse signaling in subcellular compartments. With respect to injury and disease, astrocytes undergo several phenotypic changes that may be protective or causative with regards to pathology in a context-dependent manner. Damages to the peripheral and central nervous tissue as well as pathological alterations of complex organs, like the intestine, lead to astrocyte activation, causing neuroanatomical and neurochemical transformations which sustain pathological signals participating in maladaptive plasticity. Nevertheless, also during pathology, astrocytes (such phenotypes or some yet-to-be identified specific populations) maintain their neuroconservative role.
Goal: The challenge of pharmacological research is the regulation of astrocyte function, reducing neural aberrant excitation and promoting restorative signals.
Scope: The present research topic is intended to be a collection of new physiological and pathological evidence regarding astrocyte features and functions focusing on the concept that astrocytes represent a highly variegated population of cells that mediate neural circuit-specific roles in health and disease. The pharmacological modulation of astrocytic targets is encouraged as a breakthrough strategy for the relief of several debilitating pathologies, such as neurodegenerative and demyelinating disorders and chronic pain.
Details for Authors: Original Research articles and reviews will be preferred. Themes encompass:
- Description of astrocyte heterogeneity in health and in different pathological conditions with focus on transcriptomic, proteomic, morphological, and functional evidence
- Molecular evidence regarding astrocyte activation dissecting hyperexcitability mechanisms from properties of support and protection
- Highlight on innovative druggable targets in astrocyte cells
- Pharmacological modulation of astrocyte signaling as new possible approach for treating pathologies of the peripheral and central nervous system as well as of non nervous diseases
Keywords: Glia, ALDH1L1, immune response, neurorestoration, astrocyte populations