The right dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus was stereotaxically destroyed in adult albino rats. After 3 to 150 days of survival the visual cortices from both hemispheres were processed for semithin histology, electron microscopy, GFAP immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. In visual cortices with histologically disclosed degeneration of the geniculo-cortical tract, a hypertrophy of astrocytes without change in their total numbers was seen from postoperative day 3. From day 7, a rise in GFAP immunoreactivity was observed, reaching its peak between days 11-14, after which a decrease occurred. Observations were confirmed by computer-assisted image analysis of immunohistochemical preparation. Using the immunoblot technique, relative GFAP levels were found to change in a fashion similar to immunohistochemical findings. This showed that synaptic degeneration triggered an up-regulation of GFAP synthesis in the perisynaptic astrocyte processes as a second, cytoskeletal phase of the astrocyte reaction. The phenomenon is denoted as the remote astroglial response (RAR) and is though to be a marker of synapase removal during plastic changes either related to function or induced by lesions. An extrapolation is made to the possible significance of whole-brain GFAP levels in assessing the effects of focal CNS lesions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience