Functions of astrocytes

* Provide structural support for nerve cells.

* Contact both capillaries and neurons and form the blood-brain barrier, thereby regulating the chemical composition of the extracellular space.

* Proliferation and repair following injury to nerves. They are responsible for reactive gliosis in response to injury to the CNS.

* Astrocytes produce a large number of growth factors, which act singly or in combination to selectively regulate the morphology, proliferation, differentiation and/or survival of distinct neuronal subpopulations.

* Isolation and grouping of nerve fibres and terminals.

* Participate in metabolic pathways which modulate ions, transmitters, and metabolites involved in the function of neurons and their synapses.

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