Detection of apoptotic cell death in the thymus of dexamethasone treated rats using [123I]Annexin V and in situ oligonucleotide ligation
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In the present study we aimed to establish an animal model of dexamethasone (DEX)-induced apoptosis in the thymus of rats. The degree of apoptosis was determined in the same animals at 6 and 11 h after a single administration of DEX (5 mg/kg, ip) by (a) in vivo biodistribution of the uptake of [123I]Annexin V, a biomarker of the early stages of apoptosis; (b) in vitro evaluation of the apoptotic index (percentage of number of apoptotic cells versus total number of cells) in the form of DNA fragmentation, on tissue sections using in situ oligo ligation (ISOL). ISOL demonstrated a 62- and 90-fold increase of apoptotic index at 6 and 11 h after DEX administration respectively, in the outer part of the thymic lobule (cortex) and a 25- and 54-fold increases in the inner part of the thymic lobule (medulla) in the corresponding treatment groups. In the biodistribution study, [123I]Annexin V uptake was significantly increased in the thymus of rats 11 h after DEX administration (by 1.3- to 1.4-fold) and significantly decreased at the 6-h time point. We conclude that the specificity of the apoptotic signal provided by isotopic methods in vivo would always require confirmation by complementary in vitro techniques that verify the assessment of ongoing apoptosis accurately.
KeywordsApoptosis Thymus Dexamethasone Annexin V In situ oligo ligation
The authors wish to thank Filomena Mattner, Paula Berghofer and Emma Millard, for assistance on the day of the biodistribution experiment.
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