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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2012, Article ID 197491, 12 pages
Review Article

Astrocytes and Developmental Plasticity in Fragile X

Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, HSC 1R1, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1

Received 23 March 2012; Revised 25 May 2012; Accepted 27 May 2012

Academic Editor: Hansen Wang

Copyright © 2012 Connie Cheng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A growing body of research indicates a pivotal role for astrocytes at the developing synapse. In particular, astrocytes are dynamically involved in governing synapse structure, function, and plasticity. In the postnatal brain, their appearance at synapses coincides with periods of developmental plasticity when neural circuits are refined and established. Alterations in the partnership between astrocytes and neurons have now emerged as important mechanisms that underlie neuropathology. With overall synaptic function standing as a prominent link to the expression of the disease phenotype in a number of neurodevelopmental disorders and knowing that astrocytes influence synapse development and function, this paper highlights the current knowledge of astrocyte biology with a focus on their involvement in fragile X syndrome.