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.
- E/I imbalance
- Synapse loss