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Brain Res. 2008 Jan 23;1190:23-38. Epub 2007 Nov 22.

Adrenalectomy counteracts the local modulation of astroglial fibroblast growth factor system without interfering with the pattern of 6-OHDA-induced dopamine degeneration in regions of the ventral midbrain.

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  • 1Neuroregeneration Center, Department of Neurology, University of São Paulo School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, 01246-903, São Paulo, Brazil.


The present study investigated the effects of bilateral adrenalectomy (ADX) on the synthesis of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF, FGF-2) mRNA and on the expression of its FGF receptor subtype-2 (FGFR2) mRNA after a 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced lesion of nigrostriatal dopamine system. In previous papers we have demonstrated that corticosterone increases FGF-2 immunoreactivity mainly in the astrocytes of the substantia nigra [Chadi, G., Rosen, L., Cintra, A., Tinner, B., Zoli, M., Pettersson, R.F., Fuxe, K., 1993b. Corticosterone increases FGF-2 (bFGF) immunoreactivity in the substantia nigra of the rat. Neuroreport 4, 783-786.] and that 6-OHDA injected in the ventral midbrain upregulates FGF-2 synthesis in reactive astrocytes in the ascending dopamine pathways [Chadi, G., Cao, Y., Pettersson, R.F., Fuxe, K., 1994. Temporal and spatial increase of astroglial basic fibroblast growth factor synthesis after 6-hydroxydopamine-induced degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopamine neurons. Neuroscience 61, 891-910.]. Rats were adrenalectomized and received a 6-OHDA stereotaxical injection in the ventral midbrain 2 days later. Seven days after the dopamine lesion, Western blot analysis showed a decreased level of tyrosine hydroxylase in the lesioned side of the midbrain, an event that was not altered by ADX or corticosterone replacement. Moreover, the degeneration of nigral dopamine neurons, which was confirmed by the disappearance of acidic FGF (FGF-1) mRNA and the decrement of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA labeled nigral neurons, was not altered by ADX. The FGF-2 protein (23 kDa isoform but not 21 kDa fraction) levels increased in the lesioned side of the ventral midbrain. This elevation was counteracted by ADX, an effect that was fully reversed by corticosterone replacement. In situ hybridization revealed that ADX counteracted the elevated FGF-2 mRNA levels in putative glial cells of the ipsilateral pars compacta of the substantia nigra and in the ventral tegmental area. The ADX also counteracted the increased density and intensity of the astroglial FGF-2 immunoreactive profiles within the lesioned pars compacta of the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area as determined by stereology. The stereotaxical mechanical needle insertion triggered the expression of FGFR2 mRNA in putative glial cells, spreading to the entire ipsilateral ventral midbrain from the region of needle track, an occurrence that was partially reversed by ADX. In conclusion, bilateral ADX counteracted the increased astroglial FGF-2 synthesis in the dopamine regions of the ventral midbrain following a 6-OHDA-induced local lesion and interfered with FGF receptor regulation around injury. These findings give further evidence that adrenocortical hormones may regulate the astroglial FGF-2-mediated trophic mechanisms and wound repair events in the lesioned central nervous system.

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