Acquisition of vimentin in astrocytes cultured from postnatal rat brain
Vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) represent the principal constituents of intermediate filaments found in astrocytes. In contrast to vimentin—GFAP transition which occurs during glial developmentin situ, vimentin coexists with GFAP in cortical astrocytes allowed to differentiate in culture. To examine whether culture conditions or proliferative activity of the cells is responsible for the expression of vimentin, we generated cultures of GFAP-positive, vimentin-negative astrocytes isolated from 26-day postnatal rat brain cortices. Isolated astrocytes are characterized by a very thin rim of perinuclear cytoplasm and by numerous processes. Antiserum to GFAP labelled major processes and cell somata of some astrocytes, especially those with relatively short and large processes. Within 3 days in culture, all astrocytes accumulated GFAP in hypertrophic cell bodies and many began to express vimentin. Vimentin appeared primarily close to nuclei, and filaments of vimentin extended into proximal segments of the cell processes. In some astrocytes, however, vimentin was always absent. Combined double immunolabelling and histoautoradiography experiments demonstrated that the acquisition of vimentin was independent of the ability of astrocytes to incorporate tritiated thymidine. The results indicate that astrocytes isolated from 26-day postnatal rat brain are heterogeneous with respect to their ability to express vimentin and that vimentin synthesis is not correlated with the growth state of the cells as had been previously suspected.
KeywordsThymidine Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Proliferative Activity Intermediate Filament Brain Cortex
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