Heterogeneity of Reactive Astrocytes

  • Samuel David
  • Rhonda Ness
Part of the Altschul Symposia Series book series (ALSS, volume 2)


Astrocytic changes are one of the hallmarks of the response of the adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS) to injury. These changes that include increased expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), proliferation and hypertrophy, have been described as giving rise to a glial “scar”, which is widely suggested as being detrimental to axon regeneration. However, as we discuss below, the Atrocytic response is heterogenous, both temporally and spatially. In addition, the factors that induce these responses in astrocytes may also differ depending upon the type of lesion, the time of onset and the proximity to the lesion. We also review evidence that some of the functional properties of reactive astrocytes in the so called glial scar may also differ depending upon their proximity to the lesion, and their association with other cells. Therefore terms such as “reactive” astrocytes or glial “scar” are unsatisfactory in that they fail to fully define these differences. In this paper we examine the heterogeneity of the astrocyte response to injury and focus on some of the cellular changes that occur at the immediate site of CNS wounds, and their implications for axon regeneration.


Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Neurite Growth Reactive Astrocyte Central Nervous System Injury Connective Tissue Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel David
    • 1
  • Rhonda Ness
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Neuroscience. The Montreal General Hospital Research InstituteMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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