Autophagy is an essential mechanism to maintain cellular homeostasis. Besides its role in controlling the quality of cytoplasmic components, it participates in nutrient obtaining and lipid mobilization under stressful conditions. Furthermore, autophagy is involved in the regulation of systemic metabolism as its blockade in hypothalamic neurons can affect the central regulation of metabolism and impact body energy balance. Moreover, hypothalamic autophagy can be altered during obesity, one of the main alterations of metabolism nowadays. In this review, we focus on the role of astrocytes, essential cells for brain homeostasis, which represent key metabolic regulators. Astrocytes can sense metabolic signals in the hypothalamus and modulate systemic functions as glucose homeostasis and feeding response. Moreover, the response of astrocytes to obesity has been widely studied. Astrocytes are important mediators of brain inflammation and can be affected by increased levels of saturated fatty acids associated with obesity. Although autophagy plays important roles for astrocyte homeostasis and functioning, the contribution of astrocyte autophagy to systemic metabolism has not been analyzed yet. Furthermore, how obesity can impact astrocyte autophagy is poorly understood. More studies are needed in order to understand the contribution of astrocyte autophagy to metabolism.
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