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Special Issue "Control of Astrocytes Function and Phenotype: Role in Neuropathology"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Neurobiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Graça Baltazar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CICS-UBI – Centro de Investigação em Ciências da Saúde (CICS-UBI) and Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
Interests: glial cells; neuroprotection; Parkinson’s disease; ischemia; neurotrophic factors; neuroinflammation; electromagnetic stimulation; aging; G protein–coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER or GPR30); STEP
Dr. Cláudio Roque
E-Mail
Guest Editor
CICS-UBI – Centro de Investigação em Ciências da Saúde (CICS-UBI) and Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
Interests: Astrocytes; G protein–coupled estrogen receptor 1; repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; ischemia; neurite degeneration; neurons; oxygen and glucose deprivation; primary cortical cultures; synaptic plasticity

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Until a couple of decades ago, astrocytes were underrated cells, with experimental studies relying on neurocentric approaches. However, over recent years, more functions and interactions between astrocytes and other cells have been revealed. Through an amazing multiplicity of functions encompassing trophic and energy support, maintenance of synapses, or control of neurogenesis, among others, astrocytes perform key functions in the maintenance and protection of the CNS. On the other hand, increasing data suggest that the dysregulation of astrocytes, or their senescence, may also have a significant contribution to pathological situations. Moreover, during the last few years, it has been shown that these multitasking cells display distinctive functional, morphological, and phenotypical heterogeneity across and within the regions of the CNS. Although the control of astrocyte diversity as well as its contribution to neuropathology is still poorly characterized, it seems increasingly evident that the modulation of astrocyte properties is a promising strategy to induce neuroprotection and neurorepair. However, to achieve this purpose, it is crucial to continue unveiling the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control astrocyte diversity.

This Special Issue on “Control of astrocytes function and phenotype: role in neuropathology” from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences aims to provide a summary of the ultimate advances in this area, with special emphasis on the molecular mechanisms through which it may be possible to modulate astrocytes' protective or deleterious effects on brain disorders. This Special Issue will publish original research articles as well as comprehensive reviews, including current understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in astrocytes modulation.

Dr. Graça Baltazar
Dr. Cláudio Roque
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Astrocyte diversity
  • Astrocyte modulation
  • Astrocyte-microglia interplay
  • Gliotransmitters
  • Metabolism
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurologic and Neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Neuron–astrocyte interactions Neurorepair

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Neuromodulation of Astrocytic K+ Clearance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2520; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22052520 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Potassium homeostasis is fundamental for brain function. Therefore, effective removal of excessive K+ from the synaptic cleft during neuronal activity is paramount. Astrocytes play a key role in K+ clearance from the extracellular milieu using various mechanisms, including uptake via Kir channels and [...] Read more.
Potassium homeostasis is fundamental for brain function. Therefore, effective removal of excessive K+ from the synaptic cleft during neuronal activity is paramount. Astrocytes play a key role in K+ clearance from the extracellular milieu using various mechanisms, including uptake via Kir channels and the Na+-K+ ATPase, and spatial buffering through the astrocytic gap-junction coupled network. Recently we showed that alterations in the concentrations of extracellular potassium ([K+]o) or impairments of the astrocytic clearance mechanism affect the resonance and oscillatory behavior of both the individual and networks of neurons. These results indicate that astrocytes have the potential to modulate neuronal network activity, however, the cellular effectors that may affect the astrocytic K+ clearance process are still unknown. In this study, we have investigated the impact of neuromodulators, which are known to mediate changes in network oscillatory behavior, on the astrocytic clearance process. Our results suggest that while some neuromodulators (5-HT; NA) might affect astrocytic spatial buffering via gap-junctions, others (DA; Histamine) primarily affect the uptake mechanism via Kir channels. These results suggest that neuromodulators can affect network oscillatory activity through parallel activation of both neurons and astrocytes, establishing a synergistic mechanism to maximize the synchronous network activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Astrocytes Function and Phenotype: Role in Neuropathology)
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Open AccessArticle
Fibrinogen Interaction with Astrocyte ICAM-1 and PrPC Results in the Generation of ROS and Neuronal Death
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2391; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22052391 - 27 Feb 2021
Viewed by 357
Abstract
Many neuroinflammatory diseases, like traumatic brain injury (TBI), are associated with an elevated level of fibrinogen and short-term memory (STM) impairment. We found that during TBI, extravasated fibrinogen deposited in vasculo-astrocyte interfaces, which was associated with neurodegeneration and STM reduction. The mechanisms of [...] Read more.
Many neuroinflammatory diseases, like traumatic brain injury (TBI), are associated with an elevated level of fibrinogen and short-term memory (STM) impairment. We found that during TBI, extravasated fibrinogen deposited in vasculo-astrocyte interfaces, which was associated with neurodegeneration and STM reduction. The mechanisms of this fibrinogen-astrocyte interaction and its functional role in neurodegeneration are still unclear. Cultured mouse brain astrocytes were treated with fibrinogen in the presence or absence of function-blocking antibody or peptide against its astrocyte receptors intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) or cellular prion protein (PrPC), respectively. Fibrinogen interactions with astrocytic ICAM-1 and PrPC were characterized. The expression of pro-inflammatory markers, generations of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) in astrocytes, and neuronal death caused by astrocyte-conditioned medium were assessed. Data showed a strong association between fibrinogen and astrocytic ICAM-1 or PrPC, overexpression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and overproduction of ROS and NO, resulting in neuronal apoptosis and death. These effects were reduced by blocking the function of astrocytic ICAM-1 and PrPC, suggesting that fibrinogen association with its astrocytic receptors induce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, resulting in oxidative stress, and ultimately neuronal death. This can be a mechanism of neurodegeneration and the resultant STM reduction seen during TBI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Astrocytes Function and Phenotype: Role in Neuropathology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Modeling Neurodevelopmental and Neuropsychiatric Diseases with Astrocytes Derived from Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 1692; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22041692 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 608
Abstract
Accumulating studies demonstrate the morphological and functional diversity of astrocytes, a subtype of glial cells in the central nervous system. Animal models are instrumental in advancing our understanding of the role of astrocytes in brain development and their contribution to neurological disease; however, [...] Read more.
Accumulating studies demonstrate the morphological and functional diversity of astrocytes, a subtype of glial cells in the central nervous system. Animal models are instrumental in advancing our understanding of the role of astrocytes in brain development and their contribution to neurological disease; however, substantial interspecies differences exist between rodent and human astrocytes, underscoring the importance of studying human astrocytes. Human pluripotent stem cell differentiation approaches allow the study of patient-specific astrocytes in the etiology of neurological disorders. In this review, we summarize the structural and functional properties of astrocytes, including the unique features of human astrocytes; demonstrate the necessity of the stem cell platform; and discuss how this platform has been applied to the research of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Astrocytes Function and Phenotype: Role in Neuropathology)
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