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, 148 (2), 568-76

Axonal and Nonneuronal Cell Responses to Spinal Cord Injury in Mice Lacking Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein

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Axonal and Nonneuronal Cell Responses to Spinal Cord Injury in Mice Lacking Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein

X Wang et al. Exp Neurol.

Abstract

We have examined the regeneration of corticospinal tract fibers and expression of various extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules and intermediate filaments [vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)] after dorsal hemisection of the spinal cord of adult GFAP-null and wild-type littermate control mice. The expression of these molecules was also examined in the uninjured spinal cord. There was no increase in axon sprouting or long distance regeneration in GFAP-/- mice compared to the wild type. In the uninjured spinal cord (i) GFAP was expressed in the wild type but not the mutant mice, while vimentin was expressed in astrocytes in the white matter of both types of mice; (ii) laminin and fibronectin immunoreactivity was localized to blood vessels and meninges; (iii) tenascin and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) labeling was detected in astrocytes and the nodes of Ranvier in the white matter; and (iv) in addition, CSPG labeling which was generally less intense in the gray matter of mutant mice. Ten days after hemisection there was a large increase in vimentin+ cells at the lesion site in both groups of mice. These include astrocytes as well as meningeal cells that migrate into the wound. The center of these lesions was filled by laminin+/fibronectin+ cells. Discrete strands of tenascin-like immunoreactivity were seen in the core of the lesion and lining its walls. Marked increases in CSPG labeling was observed in the CNS parenchyma on either side of the lesion. These results indicate that the absence of GFAP in reactive astrocytes does not alter axonal sprouting or regeneration. In addition, except for CSPG, the expression of various ECM molecules appears unaltered in GFAP-/- mice.

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