Regulation of mRNA translation in astrocytes gains a growing interest. However, until now, successful ribosome profiling of primary astrocytes has not been reported. Here, we optimized the standard ‘polysome profiling’ method and generated an effective protocol for polyribosome extraction, which enabled genome-wide assessment of mRNA translation dynamics along the process of astrocyte activation. Transcriptome (RNAseq) and translatome (Riboseq) data generated at 0, 24 and 48 h after cytokines treatment, revealed dynamic genome-wide changes in the expression level of ∼12 000 genes. The data clarify whether a change in protein synthesis rate results from a change in mRNA level or translation efficiency per se. It exhibit different expression strategies, based on changes in mRNA abundance and/or translation efficiency, which are specifically assigned to gene subsets depending on their function. Moreover, the study raises an important take-home message related to the possible presence of ‘difficult to extract’ polyribosome sub-groups, in all cell types, thus illuminating the impact of ribosomes extraction methodology on experiments addressing translation regulation.