Astrocyte mitochondria: Central players and potential therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases and injury

J. L. Gollihue, C. M. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial function has long been the focus of many therapeutic strategies for ameliorating age-related neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. Historically, the role of mitochondria in non-neuronal cell types has been overshadowed by neuronal mitochondria, which are responsible for the bulk of oxidative metabolism in the brain. Despite this neuronal bias, mitochondrial function in glial cells, particularly astrocytes, is increasingly recognized to play crucial roles in overall brain metabolism, synaptic transmission, and neuronal protection. Changes in astrocytic mitochondrial function appear to be intimately linked to astrocyte activation/reactivity found in most all age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we address the importance of mitochondrial function to astrocyte signaling and consider how mitochondria could contribute to both the detrimental and protective properties of activated astrocytes. Strategies for protecting astrocytic mitochondrial function, promoting bidirectional transfer of mitochondria between astrocytes and neurons, and transplanting healthy mitochondria to diseased nervous tissue are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101039
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health [ T32AG057461 to JLG and RF1AG027297 to CMN]; the Hazel Embry Research Trust ; and the Sylvia Mansbach Endowment .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Aging
  • Astrocytes
  • Mitocentric therapy
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Astrocyte mitochondria: Central players and potential therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases and injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this