Expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein in areas of focal cerebral ischemia accompanies neuronal expression of 72-kDa heat shock protein

J Neurol Sci. 1995 Feb;128(2):134-42. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(94)00228-g.


We examined the astrocytic GFAP and neuronal HSP-72 responses to transient middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion in the rat. Three groups of rats (n = 79) were studied: (1) fixed duration of MCA occlusion (120 min) and variable durations of reperfusion (0.5, 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, 48, 96 and 168 h); (2) variable durations of MCA occlusion (10, 20, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min) and a fixed duration of reperfusion (48 h); and (3) controls: sham operated rats and normal rats. Coronal sections from each brain were reacted with appropriate antibodies to GFAP and HSP-72 and stained with H&E for evaluation of cellular response to ischemia. Our data show that after MCA occlusion: (1) GFAP expression was found in the boundary zone to the infarct or in areas of selective incomplete ischemic necrosis; (2) GFAP expression was localized to the same areas where neurons express HSP-72 and are destined to survive the ischemic insult; and (3) HSP-72 expression was not found in astrocytes in any of the experimental groups. These studies suggest that after transient focal ischemia in the rat: areas where both GFAP and HSP-72 expression are lost are destined to become necrotic, even though cells may appear morphologically intact in the H&E preparations, and expression of GFAP and HSP-72 reflects astrocytic and neuronal viability, respectively.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / biosynthesis*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / genetics
  • HSP72 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Necrosis
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • HSP72 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins