Astrocytes contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, researchers report

Data presented at the MSVirtual2020 conference have provided insights into the role of astrocytes in the development and progression of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Astrocytes have multiple homeostatic, regulatory, and structural functions, but their role in MS was unclear until recently, said Dr David Pitt of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

In MS, astrocytes were initially considered “bystander” cells with little to no role in the disease. However, astrocytes have now been shown to regulate blood-brain barrier function, recruit and activate lymphocytes, and promote a pro-inflammatory, neurotoxic environment that may contribute to MS pathogenesis.