Role of Astrocytes in Major Neuropsychiatric Disorders


Astrocytes are the primary homeostatic cells of the central nervous system, essential for normal neuronal development and function, metabolism and response to injury and inflammation. Here, we review postmortem studies examining changes in astrocytes in subjects diagnosed with the neuropsychiatric disorders schizophrenia (SCZ), major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolar disorder (BPD). We discuss the astrocyte-related changes described in the brain in these disorders and the potential effects of psychotropic medication on these findings. Finally, we describe emerging tools that can be used to study the role of astrocytes in neuropsychiatric illness.