The established and emerging roles of astrocytes and microglia in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia

Rowan A. Radford, Marco Morsch, Stephanie L. Rayner, Nicholas J. Cole, Dean L. Pountney, Roger S. Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

60 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are two progressive, fatal neurodegenerative syndromes with considerable clinical, genetic and pathological overlap. Clinical symptoms of FTD can be seen in ALS patients and vice versa. Recent genetic discoveries conclusively link the two diseases, and several common molecular players have been identified (TDP-43, FUS, C9ORF72). The definitive etiologies of ALS and FTD are currently unknown and both disorders lack a cure. Glia, specifically astrocytes and microglia are heavily implicated in the onset and progression of neurodegeneration witnessed in ALS and FTD. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the role of microglia and astrocytes involved in ALS and FTD, highlighting their recent implications in neuroinflammation, alterations in waste clearance involving phagocytosis and the newly described glymphatic system, and vascular abnormalities. Elucidating the precise mechanisms of how astrocytes and microglia are involved in ALS and FTD will be crucial in characterizing these two disorders and may represent more effective interventions for disease progression and treatment options in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number414
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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