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Redefining the concept of reactive astrocytes as cells that remain within their unique domains upon reaction to injury.

Journal article
Authors Ulrika Wilhelmsson
Eric A Bushong
Diana L Price
Benjamin L Smarr
Van Phung
Masako Terada
Mark H Ellisman
Milos Pekny
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume 103
Issue 46
Pages 17513-8
ISSN 0027-8424
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 17513-8
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0602841103
Keywords Animals, Astrocytes, pathology, Brain Injuries, pathology, Cell Shape, Female, Mice
Subject categories Clinical neurophysiology, Medical cell biology

Abstract

Reactive astrocytes in neurotrauma, stroke, or neurodegeneration are thought to undergo cellular hypertrophy, based on their morphological appearance revealed by immunohistochemical detection of glial fibrillary acidic protein, vimentin, or nestin, all of them forming intermediate filaments, a part of the cytoskeleton. Here, we used a recently established dye-filling method to reveal the full three-dimensional shape of astrocytes assessing the morphology of reactive astrocytes in two neurotrauma models. Both in the denervated hippocampal region and the lesioned cerebral cortex, reactive astrocytes increased the thickness of their main cellular processes but did not extend to occupy a greater volume of tissue than nonreactive astrocytes. Despite this hypertrophy of glial fibrillary acidic protein-containing cellular processes, interdigitation between adjacent hippocampal astrocytes remained minimal. This work helps to redefine the century-old concept of hypertrophy of reactive astrocytes.

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