Connecting Malfunctioning Glial Cells and Brain Degenerative Disorders

Natalie Kaminsky, Ofer Bihari, Sivan Kanner*, Ari Barzilai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The DNA damage response (DDR) is a complex biological system activated by different types of DNA damage. Mutations in certain components of the DDR machinery can lead to genomic instability disorders that culminate in tissue degeneration, premature aging, and various types of cancers. Intriguingly, malfunctioning DDR plays a role in the etiology of late onset brain degenerative disorders such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's diseases. For many years, brain degenerative disorders were thought to result from aberrant neural death. Here we discuss the evidence that supports our novel hypothesis that brain degenerative diseases involve dysfunction of glial cells (astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocytes). Impairment in the functionality of glial cells results in pathological neuro-glial interactions that, in turn, generate a “hostile” environment that impairs the functionality of neuronal cells. These events can lead to systematic neural demise on a scale that appears to be proportional to the severity of the neurological deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-165
Number of pages11
JournalGenomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


FundersFunder number
German Israeli FoundationI-192-418.13-2014
Joint Italian-Israeli Laboratory on Application of Neuroscience590308
Israel Science Foundation421/15, 549/12


    • Astrocytes
    • Brain degenerative diseases
    • DNA damage response
    • Genomic instability
    • Glial cells
    • Microglia


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