Because the brain is encased by the skull, the ability to control cell volume in the brain is crucial, and pathological conditions that disturb cell volume homeostasis may severely compromise neural function and survival. Astrocytes are the main cell type to show swelling in response to pathological conditions. More recently, a role for swelling-induced neurotransmitter release from astrocytes under nonpathological conditions has been reported. Astrocytes express a volume-regulated anion channel
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