A general perception has emerged over the past two decades of research that astrocytes are relatively resistant to insults such as those caused by ischemia [oxygen/glucose deprivation (OGD)], and oxidative stress [e.g., reactive oxygen species (ROS)] damage. Recent work, however, points to significant astrocyte dysfunction in response to these injuries. This chapter focuses on the responses of astrocytes to hypoxia/ischemia and trauma. It argues that given the importance of astrocyte functioning to the microenvironment of the central nervous system (CNS), it is apparent that alterations in their physiology during pathological states (such as ischemia and traumatic brain injury) could have profound implications for the progression of these insults.
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