Abnormal mitosis in reactive astrocytes

Alexander Sosunov, Xiaoping Wu, Robert McGovern, Charles Mikell, Guy M. McKhann, James E. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although abnormal mitosis with disarranged metaphase chromosomes or many micronuclei in astrocytes (named "Alzheimer I type astrocytes" and later "Creutzfeldt-Peters cells") have been known for nearly 100 years, the origin and mechanisms of this pathology remain elusive. In experimental brain insults in rats, we show that abnormal mitoses that are not followed by cytokinesis are typical for reactive astrocytes. The pathology originates due to the inability of the cells to form normal mitotic spindles with subsequent metaphase chromosome congression, which, in turn may be due to shape constraints aggravated by cellular enlargement and to the accumulation of large amounts of cytosolic proteins. Many astrocytes escape from arrested mitosis by producing micronuclei. These polyploid astrocytes can survive for long periods of time and enter into new cell cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020



  • Astrocytes
  • Creutzfeldt-Peters cells
  • Mitosis
  • Mitotic spindles
  • Polyploidy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Cite this

Sosunov, A., Wu, X., McGovern, R., Mikell, C., McKhann, G. M., & Goldman, J. E. (2020). Abnormal mitosis in reactive astrocytes. Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 8(1), [47]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-00919-4