Occupation of Injured Areas and Vacated Synaptic Sites

Astrocytes comprise a major part of the limited resources available to the CNS for responding to damage or disease and subsequent repair. Astrocytes or their precursors multiply in a mysterious manner. Mitotic figures are never seen; hence, the process of division is said to be amitotic. As a result, an increase in astrocyte number occurs along with an enlargement of cell size. Collectively, this hyperplasia and hypertrophy constitute astrocytosis. The hypertrophy involves both cell bodies and processes and is usually accompanied by astrogliosis: enlargement and excessive production of astrocytic fibrils. Astrogliosis can also occur without hypertrophy, especially in chronic diseases, but here we focus on the destructive injury of brain tissue. Hence, the astrocyte responses are secondary to the degeneration of neurons and myelin, however caused.

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