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Chin J Physiol. 1999 Dec 31;42(4):227-35.

Changes in the level of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) after mild and severe focal cerebral ischemia.

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Neuroscience Division, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


In the present study, we examined the temporal and spatial expression profiles of GFAP mRNA and protein in a focal cerebral ischemia model with ischemic injury confined to the cerebral cortex in the right middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory. Northern blot analysis showed a respective 5.5-fold and 7.2-fold increase in the GFAP mRNA in the ischemic right MCA cortex in rats subjected to 30-min (mild) or 60-min (severe) ischemia followed by 72-hr reperfusion. The GFAP mRNA signal remained elevated up to 2-week reperfusion. Interestingly, increased GFAP mRNA signal was clearly demonstrated for the first time in the left MCA cortex. A significant 1.5-fold and 5-fold increase was observed after 72-hr reperfusion following mild and severe ischemia, respectively. However, unlike the ischemic right MCA cortex, this induction was transient in the non-ischemic left MCA counterpart. In situ hybridization studies further revealed characteristic spatial induction profile following mild vs. severe ischemia. In mild ischemia, following 24-hr reperfusion, increase in GFAP mRNA was observed mainly within the ischemic right MCA cortex. Following 72-hr reperfusion, GFAP mRNA signal was observed in virtually the entire ischemic cortex, particularly the amygdala region, then gradually reduced and restricted to right MCA territory and subcortical thalamic nucleus following 2-week reperfusion. On the other hand, in severe ischemia, following 24-hr reperfusion increased GFAP mRNA signal was observed in area surrounding right MCA territory (infarct region) and outer cortical layers within the right MCA territory. Following 72-hr reperfusion, no signal was detected within right MCA cortex; however, increased GFAP signal was detected throughout the remaining ipsilateral cortex and subcortical region, as well as the contralateral cerebral cortex. GFAP mRNA signals then gradually reduced its intensity and was restricted to area surrounding necrosis and ipsilateral thalamic nucleus following 2-week reperfusion. GFAP-like immunoreactivity was also detected in area expressing GFAP mRNA. It is very likely that de novo synthesis was responsible for this increase. In summary, increased GFAP signal was noted in both ipsilateral and contralateral cerebral following mild and severe ischemia. Although the temporal induction profile for mild vs. severe ischemia was similar, the spatial induction profile was different. The mechanism leading to this differential induction and their physiological and functional significance are not clear at present. It is very likely that some local factors may involve, nevertheless, the detailed mechanisms remain to be fully explored.

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