Brain-region specific responses of astrocytes to anin vitroinjury and neurotrophins

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Abstract

Astrocytes are a heterogeneous population of glial cells that react to brain insults through a process referred to as astrogliosis. Reactive astrocytes are characterized by an increase in proliferation, size, migration to the injured zone and release of a plethora of chemical mediators such as NGF and BDNF. The aim of this study was to determine whether there are brain region-associated responses of astrocytes to an injury and to the neurotrophins NGF and BDNF. We used the scratch injury model to study the closure of a wound inflicted on a monolayer of astrocytes obtained from cortex, hippocampus or striatum. Our results indicate that the response of astrocytes to a mechanical lesion differ according to brain regions. Astrocytes from the striatum proliferate and repopulate the injury site more rapidly than astrocytes from cortex or hippocampus. We found that the scratch injury induced the upregulation of neurotrophin receptor p75NTR and TrkB.t in astrocytes from all brain regions studied. When astrocytes from all regions were treated with NGF, the neurotrophin induced migration of the astrocytes (assessed in Boyden chambers) and induced wound closure but did not affect proliferation. In contrast, BDNF induced wound closure but only in astrocytes from striatum. Our overall findings show the heterogeneity in astrocyte functions based on their brain region of origin, and how this functional diversity may determine their responses to an injury and to neurotrophins.

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