Short- and long-term consequences of intracranial injections of the excitotoxin, quinolinic acid, as evidenced by GFA immunohistochemistry of astrocytes.
Astroglial reactions to intrastriatal and intrahypothalamic injections of the endogenous excitotoxin quinolinic acid (50 micrograms in 1 microliter) were studied in adult rats, using immunohistochemistry with antiserum to glial fibrillary acidic protein. Animals were sacrificed 6 h, 24 h, 3, 7 and 30 days or 1 year after the injection. Six and 24 h after quinolinic acid, the amount of glial fibrillary acidic protein-like immunoreactivity in the injected striatum was lower than in controls but returned to a normal level at 3 days. Not until 7 days was a clear striatal gliosis apparent, as evidenced by an increased density of glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive structures and brightly fluorescent, clearly hypertrophic cells. This gliosis was even more developed in animals sacrificed 30 days postoperatively. A weak astrocytic reaction was also observed in the ipsilateral corpus callosum at 6 h after quinolinic acid. By 3 days, a marked gliosis restricted to the injected hemisphere was present throughout corpus callosum and cortex cerebri. In animals sacrificed 30 days after quinolinic acid the extrastriatal astrocytic reaction was clearly diminished, although the striatal gliosis was still prominent. One year postinjection, no obvious gliosis could be observed in cortex cerebri or corpus callosum while striatal tissue, now markedly reduced in volume, was clearly gliotic. Using neurofilament antiserum, increased fluorescence intensity was noted in striatal nerve bundles during the first day after an intrastriatal quinolinic acid injection and persisted 1 year postoperatively. Controls were similarly injected with an equimolar amount of nicotinic acid, the non-excitatory, non-neurotoxic decarboxylation product of quinolinic acid. No changes in immunoreactivity of glial fibrillary acidic protein or neurofilament were found in these animals. In animals treated intrahypothalamically, a spherical central area almost devoid of glial fibrillary acidic protein-immunoreactivity was noted around the injection site 7 days after quinolinic acid administration. Around this area, gliosis was observed. Apart from a very restricted gliotic reaction around the needle tract, no astrocytic reaction was observed in nicotinic acid-injected control animals. We conclude that quinolinic acid causes both reversible and long-lasting gliosis when injected into the rat striatum. As a natural brain metabolite, quinolinic acid may constitute a particularly valuable tool for the elucidation of a possible role of glia in neurodegenerative disorders.
Authors, , ,
Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
Rats, Inbred Strains
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.