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Neuroprotection: Why, when and how

      Francisco J. Quintana. Harvard Medical School and The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Astrocytes play important roles in the central nervous system (CNS) during health and disease. In particular, it is now know that astrocytes play important roles in CNS inflammation and neurodegeneration in MS and other neurologic diseases. 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 pathology. 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, and novel findings on how specific subsets and their interactions participate in MS pathology.
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