Astrocytes in functional recovery following central nervous system injuries

Qasim M. Alhadidi, Ghaith A. Bahader, Oiva Arvola, Philip Kitchen, Zahoor A. Shah, Mootaz M. Salman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Astrocytes are increasingly recognised as partaking in complex homeostatic mechanisms critical for regulating neuronal plasticity following central nervous system (CNS) insults. Ischaemic stroke and traumatic brain injury are associated with high rates of disability and mortality. Depending on the context and type of injury, reactive astrocytes respond with diverse morphological, proliferative and functional changes collectively known as astrogliosis, which results in both pathogenic and protective effects. There is a large body of research on the negative consequences of astrogliosis following brain injuries. There is also growing interest in how astrogliosis might in some contexts be protective and help to limit the spread of the injury. However, little is known about how astrocytes contribute to the chronic functional recovery phase following traumatic and ischaemic brain insults. In this review, we explore the protective functions of astrocytes in various aspects of secondary brain injury such as oedema, inflammation and blood–brain barrier dysfunction. We also discuss the current knowledge on astrocyte contribution to tissue regeneration, including angiogenesis, neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, dendrogenesis and axogenesis. Finally, we discuss diverse astrocyte‐related factors that, if selectively targeted, could form the basis of astrocyte‐targeted therapeutic strategies to better address currently untreatable CNS disorders. image
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physiology
Early online date13 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Physiological Society.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Discovery fellowship from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Grant Number: BB/W00934X/1
Medical Research Council (MRC) Career Development Award. Grant Number: MR/W027119/1


  • traumatic CNS injury
  • astrocytes
  • functional recovery
  • regeneration
  • brain injury


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