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The Role of Astrocytes in the Central Nervous System Focused on BK Channel and Heme Oxygenase Metabolites: A Review

Department of Integrative Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Antioxidants 2019, 8(5), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8050121
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 5 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxidative and Nitrosative Stress in Astrocytes)
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Abstract

Astrocytes outnumber neurons in the human brain, and they play a key role in numerous functions within the central nervous system (CNS), including glutamate, ion (i.e., Ca2+, K+) and water homeostasis, defense against oxidative/nitrosative stress, energy storage, mitochondria biogenesis, scar formation, tissue repair via angiogenesis and neurogenesis, and synapse modulation. After CNS injury, astrocytes communicate with surrounding neuronal and vascular systems, leading to the clearance of disease-specific protein aggregates, such as β-amyloid, and α-synuclein. The astrocytic big conductance K+ (BK) channel plays a role in these processes. Recently, potential therapeutic agents that target astrocytes have been tested for their potential to repair the brain. In this review, we discuss the role of the BK channel and antioxidant agents such as heme oxygenase metabolites following CNS injury. A better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of astrocytes’ functions in the healthy and diseased brains will greatly contribute to the development of therapeutic approaches following CNS injury, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. View Full-Text
Keywords: astrocytes; BK channel; oxidative/nitrosative stress; heme oxygenase metabolites astrocytes; BK channel; oxidative/nitrosative stress; heme oxygenase metabolites
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Kim, Y.; Park, J.; Choi, Y.K. The Role of Astrocytes in the Central Nervous System Focused on BK Channel and Heme Oxygenase Metabolites: A Review. Antioxidants 2019, 8, 121.

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