Glial contribution to excitatory and inhibitory synapse loss in neurodegeneration

Christopher Henstridge, Makis Tzioras, Rosa Chiara Paolicelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)
346 Downloads (Pure)


Synapse loss is an early feature shared by many neurodegenerative diseases, and it represents the major correlate of cognitive impairment. Recent studies reveal that microglia and astrocytes play a major role in synapse elimination, contributing to network dysfunction associated with neurodegeneration. Excitatory and inhibitory activity can be affected by glia-mediated synapse loss, resulting in imbalanced synaptic transmission and subsequent synaptic dysfunction. Here, we review the recent literature on the contribution of glia to excitatory/inhibitory imbalance, in the context of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying pathological synapse loss will be instrumental to design targeted therapeutic interventions, taking in account the emerging roles of microglia and astrocytes in synapse remodeling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Number of pages26
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • Astrocytes
  • E/I imbalance
  • Microglia
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Synapse loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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