Once considered passive cells of the central nervous system (CNS), glia are now known to actively maintain the CNS parenchyma; in recent years, the evidence for glial functions in CNS physiology and pathophysiology has only grown. Astrocytes, a heterogeneous group of glial cells, play key roles in regulating the metabolic and inflammatory landscape of the CNS and have emerged as potential therapeutic targets for a variety of disorders. This review will outline astrocyte functions in the CNS in healthy ageing, obesity, and neurodegeneration, with a focus on the inflammatory responses and mitochondrial function, and will address therapeutic outlooks.

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