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      The diversity and disparity of the glial scar

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      Nature Neuroscience

      Springer Nature

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          Abstract

          Injury or disease to the CNS results in multifaceted cellular and molecular responses. One such response, the glial scar, is a structural formation of reactive glia around an area of severe tissue damage. While traditionally viewed as a barrier to axon regeneration, beneficial functions of the glial scar have also been recently identified. In this Perspective, we discuss the divergent roles of the glial scar during CNS regeneration and explore the possibility that these disparities are due to functional heterogeneity within the cells of the glial scar-specifically, astrocytes, NG2 glia and microglia.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Application of a translational profiling approach for the comparative analysis of CNS cell types.

          Comparative analysis can provide important insights into complex biological systems. As demonstrated in the accompanying paper, translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) permits comprehensive studies of translated mRNAs in genetically defined cell populations after physiological perturbations. To establish the generality of this approach, we present translational profiles for 24 CNS cell populations and identify known cell-specific and enriched transcripts for each population. We report thousands of cell-specific mRNAs that were not detected in whole-tissue microarray studies and provide examples that demonstrate the benefits deriving from comparative analysis. To provide a foundation for further biological and in silico studies, we provide a resource of 16 transgenic mouse lines, their corresponding anatomic characterization, and translational profiles for cell types from a variety of central nervous system structures. This resource will enable a wide spectrum of molecular and mechanistic studies of both well-known and previously uncharacterized neural cell populations.
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            Glial scar borders are formed by newly proliferated, elongated astrocytes that interact to corral inflammatory and fibrotic cells via STAT3-dependent mechanisms after spinal cord injury.

            Astroglial scars surround damaged tissue after trauma, stroke, infection, or autoimmune inflammation in the CNS. They are essential for wound repair, but also interfere with axonal regrowth. A better understanding of the cellular mechanisms, regulation, and functions of astroglial scar formation is fundamental to developing safe interventions for many CNS disorders. We used wild-type and transgenic mice to quantify and dissect these parameters. Adjacent to crush spinal cord injury (SCI), reactive astrocytes exhibited heterogeneous phenotypes as regards proliferation, morphology, and chemistry, which all varied with distance from lesions. Mature scar borders at 14 d after SCI consisted primarily of newly proliferated astroglia with elongated cell processes that surrounded large and small clusters of inflammatory, fibrotic, and other cells. During scar formation from 5 to 14 d after SCI, cell processes deriving from different astroglia associated into overlapping bundles that quantifiably reoriented and organized into dense mesh-like arrangements. Selective deletion of STAT3 from astroglia quantifiably disrupted the organization of elongated astroglia into scar borders, and caused a failure of astroglia to surround inflammatory cells, resulting in increased spread of these cells and neuronal loss. In cocultures, wild-type astroglia spontaneously corralled inflammatory or fibromeningeal cells into segregated clusters, whereas STAT3-deficient astroglia failed to do so. These findings demonstrate heterogeneity of reactive astroglia and show that scar borders are formed by newly proliferated, elongated astroglia, which organize via STAT3-dependent mechanisms to corral inflammatory and fibrotic cells into discrete areas separated from adjacent tissue that contains viable neurons.
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              Origin and progeny of reactive gliosis: A source of multipotent cells in the injured brain.

              Reactive gliosis is the universal reaction to brain injury, but the precise origin and subsequent fate of the glial cells reacting to injury are unknown. Astrocytes react to injury by hypertrophy and up-regulation of the glial-fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Whereas mature astrocytes do not normally divide, a subpopulation of the reactive GFAP(+) cells does so, prompting the question of whether the proliferating GFAP(+) cells arise from endogenous glial progenitors or from mature astrocytes that start to proliferate in response to brain injury. Here we show by genetic fate mapping and cell type-specific viral targeting that quiescent astrocytes start to proliferate after stab wound injury and contribute to the reactive gliosis and proliferating GFAP(+) cells. These proliferating astrocytes remain within their lineage in vivo, while a more favorable environment in vitro revealed their multipotency and capacity for self-renewal. Conversely, progenitors present in the adult mouse cerebral cortex labeled by NG2 or the receptor for the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGFRalpha) did not form neurospheres after (or before) brain injury. Taken together, the first fate-mapping analysis of astrocytes in the adult mouse cerebral cortex shows that some astrocytes acquire stem cell properties after injury and hence may provide a promising cell type to initiate repair after brain injury.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Neuroscience
                Nat Neurosci
                Springer Nature
                1097-6256
                1546-1726
                December 2017
                :
                :
                Article
                10.1038/s41593-017-0033-9
                5937232
                29269757

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