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Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS). They execute a plethora of functions in the healthy CNS. Astrocytes control the levels of metabolites, neurotransmitters, ions, and water in order to maintain homeostasis within the CNS. They also provide mechanical, metabolic, and neurotrophic support for neurons, as well as regulate neuronal cell development, synaptogenesis, and synaptic plasticity. In addition, astrocytes also play a critical role in neural protection during disease and injury. In response to many CNS pathologies, they undergo astrogliosis and become reactive. Astrogliosis is a graded, multistage reaction that involves molecular, cellular, and functional changes in astrocytes such as upregulation of the intermediate filament protein Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP). Reactive astrocytes serve to control acute stress and neuroinflammation, limit tissue damage, and restore homeostasis. However, reactive astrocytes can also release toxic proteins that can cause neurodegeneration. R&D Systems offers a range of research tools needed for the investigation of astrocytes.