as·​tro·​cyte | \ ˈa-strə-ˌsīt How to pronounce astrocyte (audio) \

Definition of astrocyte

: a large star-shaped cell of the glia

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Other Words from astrocyte

astrocytic \ ˌa-​strə-​ˈsi-​tik How to pronounce astrocytic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of astrocyte in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But after nine months, the organoid astrocytes reached a more mature state, resembling what Barres had observed in postnatal brain cells. Quanta Magazine, "The Oldest Mini-Brains Have Lifelike Young Cells," 29 Aug. 2017 Surrounding the node of Ranvier is a glial cell called an astrocyte. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "The Brain Learns in Unexpected Ways," 12 Mar. 2020 Perhaps most interestingly, the virus was all over cells known as astrocytes, which do everything from guiding neurons’ growth to ushering nutrients around the brain. Quanta Magazine, "New Insights Into How Zika Harms the Brain," 7 July 2016 By injecting certain proteins (called transcription factors) involved in development directly into the brain, Götz and her team in Munich have figured out how to alter the function of astrocytes after an injury. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 Cajal would never have seen such wildly different forms of astrocytes, a type of glial cell, in his microscope. Sharon Begley, STAT, "In ‘Beautiful Brain,’ the secrets of neurons emerge in Nobel-winning scientist’s ink and pencil drawings," 3 May 2018 Within two to 12 weeks, the organoids were sprouting additional neurons, including ones found in very specific regions of the human cortex; glia cells including astrocytes; and neural stem cells. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Miniature human brains grow for months when implanted in mice skulls," 16 Apr. 2018 Instead, it's made by a type of cell called an astrocyte. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New studies zero in on roots of depression and why ketamine reverses it," 17 Feb. 2018 The spread of the disease is really a consequence of how cells around the nerves (astrocytes and microglial cells) respond to the dying motor neurons. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "A New Understanding of Inflammation in the Spine," 15 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'astrocyte.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of astrocyte

1896, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for astrocyte

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for astrocyte

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The first known use of astrocyte was in 1896

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Cite this Entry

“Astrocyte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for astrocyte


as·​tro·​cyte | \ ˈas-trə-ˌsīt How to pronounce astrocyte (audio) \

Medical Definition of astrocyte

: a star-shaped cell especially : any comparatively large much-branched glial cell Glia outnumber neurons in the human brain by a factor of 10 to one, and astrocytes are the most abundant type of glial cell. — Tina Hesman Saey, Science News, 2 Aug. 2008 Astrocytes come in two main forms: fibrous astrocytes are found in the white matter and protoplasmic astrocytes in the gray matter.— Harold Kimelberg and Michael Norenberg, Scientific American, April 1989

Other Words from astrocyte

astrocytic \ ˌas-​trə-​ˈsit-​ik How to pronounce astrocytic (audio) \ adjective
All gliomas, particularly the astrocytic neoplasms, are histologically, genetically, and thus therapeutically heterogeneous. — Lisa M. DeAngelis, The New England Journal of Medicine, 11 Jan. 2001

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