Molecular control of astrocyte pathogenic activities in MS

Francisco J Quintana, Harvard Medical School and The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, USA

Astrocytes play important roles in the central nervous system (CNS) during health and disease. Thus, the identification of factors that regulate astrocyte activity may shed light on CNS physiology and guide new therapies for human neurologic disorders. In this presentation we will discuss mechanisms used by astrocytes to control CNS inflammation. In addition, we will discuss molecular pathways involved in the control of astrocyte function. For example, we recently found that microbial metabolites limit astrocyte pathogenic activities in the context of CNS inflammation, while environmental factors can boost these disease promoting activities. Finally, we will review ongoing efforts on the characterization of astrocyte heterogeneity in MS.