Most common neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) are characterized by deposition of protein aggregates that are resulted from misfolding, dysregulated trafficking, and compromised proteolytic degradation. These proteins exert cellular toxicity to a broad range of brain cells and are found in both neurons and glia. Extracellular monomeric and oligomeric ND-associated proteins are taken up by astrocytes, the most abundant glial cell in the brain. Internalization, intracellular trafficking, processing, and disposal of these proteins are executed by the endosomal-lysosomal system of astrocytes. Endosomal-lysosomal organelles thus mediate the cellular impact and metabolic fate of these toxic protein species. Given the indispensable role of astrocytes in brain metabolic homeostasis, the endosomal-lysosomal processing of these proteins plays a fundamental role in altering the trajectory of neurodegeneration. This review aims at summarizing the mounting evidence that has established the essential role of astrocytic endosomal-lysosomal organelles in the processing of amyloid precursor proteins, Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), tau, alpha synuclein, and huntingtin, which are associated with NDs such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington diseases.
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