The neuron-astrocyte-microglia triad in CA3 after chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in the rat: Protective effect of dipyridamole

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Abstract

We investigated the quantitative and morphofunctional alterations of neuron-astrocyte-microglia triads in CA3 hippocampus, in comparison to CA1, after 2 Vessel Occlusion (2VO) and the protective effect of dipyridamole. We evaluated 3 experimental groups: sham-operated rats (sham, n = 15), 2VO-operated rats treated with vehicle (2VO-vehicle, n = 15), and 2VO-operated rats treated with dipyridamole from day 0 to day 7 (2VO-dipyridamole, n = 15), 90 days after 2VO. We analyzed Stratum Pyramidalis (SP), Stratum Lucidum (SL) and Stratum Radiatum (SR) of CA3. 1) ectopic neurons increased in SL and SR of 2VO-vehicle, and 2VO-dipyridamole rats; 2) apoptotic neurons increased in SP of 2VO-vehicle rats and dipyridamole reverted this effect; 3) astrocytes increased in SP, SL and SR of 2VO-vehicle and 2VO-dipyridamole rats; 4) TNF-α expression increased in astrocytes, blocked by dipyridamole, and in dendrites in SR of 2VO-vehicle rats; 5) total microglia increased in SL and SR of 2VO-vehicle and 2VO-dipyridamole rats; 6) triads increased in SR of 2VO-vehicle rats and dipyridamole reverted this effect. Microglia cooperated with astrocytes to phagocytosis of apoptotic neurons and debris, and engulfed ectopic non-fragmented neurons in SL of 2VO-vehicle and 2VO-dipyridamole rats, through a new mechanism called phagoptosis. CA3 showed a better adaptive capacity than CA1 to the ischemic insult, possibly due to the different behaviour of astrocytes and microglial cells. Dipyridamole had neuroprotective effects.

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