2Research Institute of Molecular Medicine and Pathobiochemistry, Voino-Yasenetsky Krasnoyarsk State Medical University, 660022 Krasnoyarsk, Russia
3Laboratory of Neurobiology and Tissue Engineering, Brain Institute, Research Center of Neurology, 105064 Moscow, Russia
4Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology of Learning, Institute of Higher Nervous Activity, 117485 Moscow, Russia
5Department of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 75390 Dallas, USA
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 18, 2022; Revised June 27, 2022; Accepted June 28, 2022
Astrocytes are the most common type of glial cells that provide homeostasis and protection of the central nervous system. Important specific characteristic of astrocytes is manifestation of morphological heterogeneity, which is directly dependent on localization in a particular area of the brain. Astrocytes can integrate into neural networks and keep neurons active in various areas of the brain. Moreover, astrocytes express a variety of receptors, channels, and membrane transporters, which underlie their peculiar metabolic activity, and, hence, determine plasticity of the central nervous system during development and aging. Such complex structural and functional organization of astrocytes requires the use of modern methods for their identification and analysis. Considering the important fact that determining the most appropriate marker for polymorphic and multiple subgroups of astrocytes is of decisive importance for studying their multifunctionality, this review presents markers, modern imaging techniques, and identification of astrocytes, which comprise a valuable resource for studying structural and functional properties of astrocytes, as well as facilitate better understanding of the extent to which astrocytes contribute to neuronal activity.
KEY WORDS: astrocytes, markers, imaging methods, miRNA, optogenetics