Nestin expression persists in astrocytes of organotypic slice cultures from rat cortex

Int J Dev Neurosci. 2002 Feb;20(1):29-38. doi: 10.1016/s0736-5748(02)00003-5.


Nestin is an intermediate filament protein typical for neural precursor cells that is down-regulated in the post-natal rodent brain. Re-expression of nestin has been observed in reactive astrocytes after injury. In this study, organotypic slice cultures from rat cortex were examined for expression of nestin and glial fibrillary acidic protein between 2 and 8 weeks in culture. Immunoreactivity for nestin and glial fibrillary acidic protein was seen in astrocytes which persisted throughout the observation period. Immunofluorescence double labeling showed widespread co-localization of nestin and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Image analysis revealed that levels of nestin-immunoreactivity plateaued after 5 weeks in culture. By comparison nestin immunoreactivity was absent from glial cells of the cortex in mature rats. These immunohistochemical findings of a persistent expression of nestin in glial cells of organotypic slice culture of the rat cortex indicate a different time course of glial maturation in vitro. This difference could be related to the altered trophic stimulation in vitro; differences in neuronal maturation, activity or survival; slow degeneration of the vasculature; or intrinsic properties of astrocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Down-Regulation / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Nestin
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nes protein, rat
  • Nestin