Astrocytes in the adult dentate gyrus—balance between adult and developmental tasks

Chalmers N, Masouti E, Beckervordersandforth R (2024)

Publication Type: Journal article, Review article

Publication year: 2024


DOI: 10.1038/s41380-023-02386-4


Astrocytes, a major glial cell type in the brain, are indispensable for the integration, maintenance and survival of neurons during development and adulthood. Both life phases make specific demands on the molecular and physiological properties of astrocytes, and most research projects traditionally focus on either developmental or adult astrocyte functions. In most brain regions, the generation of brain cells and the establishment of neural circuits ends with postnatal development. However, few neurogenic niches exist in the adult brain in which new neurons and glial cells are produced lifelong, and the integration of new cells into functional circuits represent a very special form of plasticity. Consequently, in the neurogenic niche, the astrocytes must be equipped to execute both mature and developmental tasks in order to integrate newborn neurons into the circuit and yet maintain overall homeostasis without affecting the preexisting neurons. In this review, we focus on astrocytes of the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG), and discuss specific features of the astrocytic compartment that may allow the execution of both tasks. Firstly, astrocytes of the adult DG are molecularly, morphologically and functionally diverse, and the distinct astrocytes subtypes are characterized by their localization to DG layers. This spatial separation may lead to a functional specification of astrocytes subtypes according to the neuronal structures they are embedded in, hence a division of labor. Secondly, the astrocytic compartment is not static, but steadily increasing in numbers due to lifelong astrogenesis. Interestingly, astrogenesis can adapt to environmental and behavioral stimuli, revealing an unexpected astrocyte dynamic that allows the niche to adopt to changing demands. The diversity and dynamic of astrocytes in the adult DG implicate a vital contribution to hippocampal plasticity and represent an interesting model to uncover mechanisms how astrocytes simultaneously fulfill developmental and adult tasks.

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How to cite


Chalmers, N., Masouti, E., & Beckervordersandforth, R. (2024). Astrocytes in the adult dentate gyrus—balance between adult and developmental tasks. Molecular Psychiatry.


Chalmers, Nicholas, Evangelia Masouti, and Ruth Beckervordersandforth. "Astrocytes in the adult dentate gyrus—balance between adult and developmental tasks." Molecular Psychiatry (2024).

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