Seasonal Fluctuations of Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP) Immunoreactivity in the Rat Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
The pacemaker of the “biological clock”, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus was studied in intact male rats for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) a specific marker for astrocytes. Immunohistochemical reactions were carried out in winter (January–February) and in summer (June–July). In winter the GFAP-immunoreactivity of the SCN was found low whereas in summer it was high. Gonadectomy reduced differences. Since photic stimuli that apparently trigger the observed differences reach the SCN through identified neuronal pathways we conluded that the reaction of astrocytes is an indicator of seasonally altered neuronal function in the SCN.
KeywordsGFAP biological clock immunohistochemistry SCN rat
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