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Astrocytes in Tauopathies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number572850
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Accepted/In press24 Aug 2020
Published24 Sep 2020


  • Reid et al_08052020 R1

    Reid_et_al_08052020_R1.pdf, 296 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:04 Sep 2020

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    Licence:CC BY

  • fneur-11-572850

    fneur_11_572850.pdf, 517 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:24 Sep 2020

    Version:Final published version

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the progressive accumulation across the brain of hyperphosphorylated aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein tau that vary in isoform composition, structural conformation and localization. Tau aggregates are most commonly deposited within neurons but can show differential association with astrocytes, depending on the disease. Astrocytes, the most abundant neural cells in the brain, play a major role in synapse and neuronal function, and are a key component of the glymphatic system and blood brain barrier. However, their contribution to tauopathy progression is not fully understood. Here we present a brief overview of the association of tau with astrocytes in tauopathies. We discuss findings that support a role for astrocytes in the uptake and spread of pathological tau, and we describe how alterations to astrocyte phenotype in tauopathies may cause functional alterations that impedes their ability to support neurons and/or cause neurotoxicity. The research reviewed here further highlights the importance of considering non-neuronal cells in neurodegeneration and suggests that astrocyte-directed targets that may have utility for therapeutic intervention in tauopathies.

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