Astrocytes—Friends or foes in multiple sclerosis?

  title={Astrocytes—Friends or foes in multiple sclerosis?},
  author={Anna C. Williams and Gabri{\`e}le Piaton and Catherine Lubetzki},
In multiple sclerosis (MS), the presence of demyelinating plaques has concentrated researchers' minds on the role of the oligodendrocyte in its pathophysiology. Recently, with the rediscovery of early and widespread loss of axons in the disease, new emphasis has been put on the role of axons and axon‐oligodendrocyte interactions in MS. Despite the fact that, in 1904, Müller claimed that MS was a disease of astrocytes, more recently, astrocytes have taken a back seat, except as the cells that… 

The astrocyte in multiple sclerosis revisited

It is proposed that the unequivocal selective early involvement of the astrocyte in MS lesions may have therapeutic relevance and multiple roles for this cell in the evolution of changes encountered in MS depending upon lesion stage and lesion topography.

How factors secreted from astrocytes impact myelin repair

Over a century ago, hypertrophy of astrocytes was noted as a pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS) and was hypothesized to play an important role in this disease, yet the contribution of astrocytes

Astrocytes in multiple sclerosis

Continual study into the initiation, evolution, and resolution of the multiple sclerosis lesion offers the therapeutic opportunities to enhance the beneficial capabilities of these cells while limiting their destructive effects.

Astrocytes in multiple sclerosis: A product of their environment

Recent data supporting the idea that astrocytes play a complex role in the regulation of CNS autoimmunity are summarized.

Lame Ducks or Fierce Creatures? - The Role of Oligodendrocytes in Multiple Sclerosis

The concept of “reactive or activated oligodendrocyte” is introduced, describing alterations in oligodendedrocytes which are either protective mechanisms allowing survival in otherwise lethal environment or influence and possibly modulate the ongoing inflammation.

Altered astrocytic function in experimental neuroinflammation and multiple sclerosis

This review will address the present knowledge that exists regarding the role of astrocytes in MS and experimental animal models of the disease, and suggest that disease progression and disability are better correlated with the maintenance of a persistent low‐grade inflammation inside the CNS, driven by local glial cells, like astroCytes and microglia.

The Role of Astrocytes in Multiple Sclerosis Progression

Better knowledge of molecular and functional properties of astrocytes should promote understanding of their specific role in MS pathophysiology, and consequently lead to development of novel and more successful therapeutic approaches.

Myelination: do astrocytes play a role?

  • S. BarnettC. Linington
  • Biology
    The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry
  • 2013
Astrocytes have long been considered the main player in the inhibition of CNS repair via the formation of the gliotic scar, but now it is accepted that astrocyte can play an important role in CNS repair and remyelination.


Specific cellular and molecular interactions have been identified that suppress the regeneration of transected axons within the adult central nervous system and prevent remyelination of MS plaques by oligodendrocyte precursors.

Glia Disease and Repair-Remyelination.

The biology of remyelination is reviewed, including the cells and signals involved; when remyElination occurs and when and why it fails and the consequences of its failure are described; approaches for therapeutically enhancing remyELination in demyelinating diseases of both children and adults are discussed.



Astrogliosis in EAE spinal cord: Derivation from radial glia, and relationships to oligodendroglia

Observations support the hypothesis that necrosis contributes to oligodendroglial loss early in the course of EAE, and accumulation of EGFP+ cells accumulated amongst hypertrophic astroglia at the margins of the lesions, while the lesions themselves remained depleted of oligodENDroglia, suggesting that migration of oligoendrocyte lineage cells into the lesions was retarded by the intense perilesional gliosis.

The contribution of demyelination to axonal loss in multiple sclerosis.

The traditional notion that multiple sclerosis is a primary demyelinating disease has led to a plaque-centred view of both aetiology and the pathogenesis of disease progression, but the possibility that demYelination is not the primary determinant of spinal cord axonal loss warrants consideration.

Astrocytes interact intimately with degenerating motor neurons in mouse amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Results show a close temporal correlation between the onset of neuronal degeneration and the beginning of astrogliosis in this neurodegenerative disease and reveal a novel spatial relationship that is consistent with the view that astrocytes play an active role in the neuronal degenerations process.

Multiple Sclerosis: A Role for Astroglia in Active Demyelination Suggested by Class II MHC Expression and Ultrastructural Study

A role for the astrocyte as both an antigen presenting cell and a phagocyte in the CNS during multiple sclerosis is confirmed and further support the role of glial cells in the pathogenesis of demyelination.

Astrocyte‐associated axonal damage in pre‐onset stages of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Significantly, it is shown that, in common with a growing number of neurodegenerative conditions, the pathology of murine EAE is characterized by early active contribution from astrocytes, which marks a change in the understanding of the role of astroCytes in MS pathogenesis and has important implications for the development of neuroprotective strategies.

Chemokine expression by astrocytes plays a role in microglia/macrophage activation and subsequent neurodegeneration in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis

Results suggest that MCP-1/CCL2 and IP-10/CXCL10 produced by astrocytes may activate astroCytes in an autocrine or paracrine manner and direct reactive gliosis followed by migration and activation of microglia/macrophages as effector cells in demyelinating lesions.

Interleukin-11 Potentiates Oligodendrocyte Survival and Maturation, and Myelin Formation

Interleukin-11 (IL-11) is identified as an astrocyte-derived factor that potentiates oligodendrocytes survival and maturation, and myelin formation in multiple sclerosis, and it is suggested that this pathway may represent a potential therapeutic target for oligod endocrine protection and remyelination in MS.

Failure of Remyelination in the Nonhuman Primate Optic Nerve

The present data suggest that the reduced oligodendrocyte progenitor population, the improper activation of oligodendedrocytes at the onset of remyelination in the optic nerve, and possibly, the involvement of astroCytes contribute to the chronicity of the optic nerves lesion.