Long-term evolution of local, proximal and remote astrocyte responses after diverse nucleus basalis lesioning (an experimental Alzheimer model): GFAP immunocytochemical study

Jose Rodriguez Arellano, Maximina Monzón-Mayor, María Isabel Álvarez, Juan Francisco Arbelo-Galván, María Mar Romero-Alemán, Carmen Yanes, María Luz Plaza, José Rodrigo Rodríguez, José Julio Rodríguez, Adolfo Toledano

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A study on long-term astrocytic responses (from 1 day to 20 months after lesioning in 4-month-old rats, and from 1 day to 6 months in 20-month-old rats) to diverse unilateral damage of the nucleus basalis (nbM) by injection of 40 nmol of ibotenic acid, or 50 or 100 nmols of quisqualic acid was performed using a histochemical method (immunoreactivity against the glial fibrillary acidic protein GFAP). Glial reactivity (i.e., isolated or clustered hypertrophic and/or hyper-reactive astrocytes) was evaluated in several ipsilateral and contralateral brain regions: the 'local response' within the damaged nbM region; the 'proximal response' (a new concept proposed by us) in the non-damaged structures neighbouring the nbM; and the 'remote response' in the ipsilateral brain cortex and in the contralateral cortex and nbM. In 4-month-old animals, the remote cortical glial responses, independent of the involution of cortical cholinergic activity and randomly located in layers I-V of motor and somatosensory cortical regions, were similar in appearance over a long period (13-20 months), with the highest reactivity 45 days after lesioning. The proximal response lasted from 1 day to 13 months and afterwards tended to disappear. Contralateral reactivity and ipsilateral cortical scars were observed. The local (nbM) glial response was maintained throughout the period studied. Subsets of astrocytes of different reactivities were observed, most of their elements being highly intermeshed. In 20-month-old animals, nbM lesions produced less positive, but similar, glial reactive patterns. This glial reactivity was superposed onto the glial reactivity of old age. All these results are discussed. The maintenance of reactive astrocytes many months after lesioning suggests the existence of cellular factors other than those produced by damaged nbM neurons. Taking into account the role of glial cells under pathological conditions, it is possible that these reactive astrocytes in humans could promote neurodegenerative processes, such as amyloid plaque formation and neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's disease). Along this line, nbM cholinergic involution could then originate cortical involution through induced reactive astrocytosis. Themes: Disorders of the nervous system. Topics: Degenerative diseases: Alzheimer's. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-258
    Number of pages13
    JournalBrain research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2000


    • Ageing
    • Alzheimer's disease models
    • Astrocytes
    • Cortical cholinergic innervation
    • Degenerative diseases: Alzheimer's
    • Disorders of the nervous system
    • GFAP
    • Gliosis
    • Nucleus basalis lesion


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