Astrocytes, the most abundant cell population in the central nervous system (CNS), are essential for normal neurological function. We show that astrocytes are allocated to spatial domains in mouse spinal cord and brain in accordance with their embryonic sites of origin in the ventricular zone. These domains remain stable throughout life without evidence of secondary tangential migration, even after acute CNS injury. Domain-specific depletion of astrocytes in ventral spinal cord resulted in abnormal motor neuron synaptogenesis, which was not rescued by immigration of astrocytes from adjoining regions. Our findings demonstrate that region-restricted astrocyte allocation is a general CNS phenomenon and reveal intrinsic limitations of the astroglial response to injury.
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