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Astrocytes

From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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Astrocytes

The largest and most numerous neuroglial cells in the brain and spinal cord. Astrocytes (from star cells) are irregularly shaped with many long processes, including those with end feet which form the glial (limiting) membrane and directly and indirectly contribute to the blood-brain barrier. They regulate the extracellular ionic and chemical environment, and reactive astrocytes (along with microglia) respond to injury. Astrocytes have high- affinity transmitter uptake systems, voltage-dependent and transmitter-gated ion channels, and can release transmitter, but their role in signaling (as in many other functions) is not well understood.