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Journal Articles Nature Neuroscience Year : 2021

Reactive astrocyte nomenclature, definitions, and future directions

Elena Galea
András Lakatos
Nicola Allen
  • Function : Author
Alfonso Araque
Luis Barbeito
Ari Barzilai
  • Function : Author
Dwight Bergles
  • Function : Author
Gilles Bonvento
Arthur Butt
Wei-Ting Chen
  • Function : Author
Martine Cohen-Salmon
Colm Cunningham
  • Function : Author
Benjamin Deneen
Bart de Strooper
  • Function : Author
Blanca Díaz-Castro
  • Function : Author
Cinthia Farina
Marc Freeman
  • Function : Author
Vittorio Gallo
James Goldman
  • Function : Author
Steven Goldman
Magdalena Götz
Antonia Gutiérrez
Philip Haydon
Dieter Heiland
Elly Hol
Matthew Holt
Masamitsu Iino
  • Function : Author
Ksenia Kastanenka
  • Function : Author
Helmut Kettenmann
  • Function : Author
Baljit Khakh
  • Function : Author
Schuichi Koizumi
C. Justin Lee
  • Function : Author
Shane Liddelow
  • Function : Author
Brian Macvicar
Pierre Magistretti
  • Function : Author
Albee Messing
  • Function : Author
Anusha Mishra
Anna Molofsky
Keith Murai
  • Function : Author
Christopher Norris
  • Function : Author
Seiji Okada
Stéphane Oliet
  • Function : Author
João Oliveira
Aude Panatier
Vladimir Parpura
  • Function : Author
Marcela Pekna
Milos Pekny
  • Function : Author
Luc Pellerin
Gertrudis Perea
Beatriz Pérez-Nievas
  • Function : Author
Kira Poskanzer
Francisco Quintana
  • Function : Author
Richard Ransohoff
  • Function : Author
Miriam Riquelme-Perez
  • Function : Author
Stefanie Robel
  • Function : Author
Christine Rose
Jeffrey Rothstein
Nathalie Rouach
David Rowitch
Alexey Semyanov
Swetlana Sirko
Harald Sontheimer
Raymond Swanson
Javier Vitorica
  • Function : Author
Ina-Beate Wanner
  • Function : Author
Levi Wood
  • Function : Author
Jiaqian Wu
  • Function : Author
Binhai Zheng
  • Function : Author
Eduardo Zimmer
  • Function : Author
Robert Zorec
Michael Sofroniew
Alexei Verkhratsky


Reactive astrocytes are astrocytes undergoing morphological, molecular, and functional remodeling in response to injury, disease, or infection of the CNS. Although this remodeling was first described over a century ago, uncertainties and controversies remain regarding the contribution of reactive astrocytes to CNS diseases, repair, and aging. It is also unclear whether fixed categories of reactive astrocytes exist and, if so, how to identify them. We point out the shortcomings of binary divisions of reactive astrocytes into good-vs-bad, neurotoxic-vs-neuroprotective or A1-vs-A2. We advocate, instead, that research on reactive astrocytes include assessment of multiple molecular and functional parameters—preferably in vivo—plus multivariate statistics and determination of impact on pathological hallmarks in relevant models. These guidelines may spur the discovery of astrocyte-based biomarkers as well as astrocyte-targeting therapies that abrogate detrimental actions of reactive astrocytes, potentiate their neuro- and glioprotective actions, and restore or augment their homeostatic, modulatory, and defensive functions.
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Dates and versions

hal-03437017 , version 1 (13-12-2021)



Carole Escartin, Elena Galea, András Lakatos, James O’callaghan, Gabor Petzold, et al.. Reactive astrocyte nomenclature, definitions, and future directions. Nature Neuroscience, 2021, 24, pp.312-325. ⟨10.1038/s41593-020-00783-4⟩. ⟨hal-03437017⟩
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