Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is closely associated with hippocampal plasticity in psychiatric disorders. Glial cells (particularly astrocytes) are the most abundant cell type in the central nervous system. Previous studies have demonstrated that distinct alterations of astrocytes are associated with major depressive disorder, but there is a paucity of data describing whether such alterations of astrocytic plasticity are present in depressive-like rat hippocampus after BDNF administration. In this paper, we investigated the effects of chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) and BDNF infusion on astrocyte immunoreactivity in rat hippocampus using sucrose preference test, open field test, and Western blot analysis. Results revealed that CUMS induced anhedonic-like behaviors in sucrose consumption and open field performances, which were partially reversed by BDNF infusion. Moreover, CUMS produced decreased glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression and increased s100 calcium binding protein b (s100b) expression in rat hippocampus, which were partially rescued by BDNF administration. Therefore, BDNF might restore astrocyte immunoreactivity in depressive-like rat hippocampus, providing insights into the potential pharmacological role of BDNF in stress-related disorders.
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