Molecular diversity of astrocytes with implications for neurological disorders

Robert M. Bachoo, Ryung S. Kim, Keith L. Ligon, Elizabeth A. Maher, Cameron Brennan, Nathan Billings, Suzanne Chan, Cheng Li, David H. Rowitch, Wing H. Wong, Ronald A. DePinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


The astrocyte represents the most abundant yet least understood cell type of the CNS. Here, we use a stringent experimental strategy to molecularly define the astrocyte lineage by integrating microarray datasets across several in vitro model systems of astrocyte differentiation, primary astrocyte cultures, and various astrocyte-rich CNS structures. The intersection of astrocyte data sets, coupled with the application of nonastrocytic exclusion filters, yielded many astrocyte-specific genes possessing strikingly varied patterns of regional CNS expression. Annotation of these astrocyte-specific genes provides direct molecular documentation of the diverse physiological roles of the astrocyle lineage. This global perspective in the normal brain also provides a framework for how astrocytes may participate in the pathogenesis of common neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, epilepsy, and primary brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8384-8389
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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