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J Neurocytol. 1991 Feb;20(2):97-108.

Distribution of glial fibrillary acidic protein and vimentin immunoreactivity during rat visual cortex development.

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University of Köln, Anatomical Institute I, Federal Republic of Germany.


The postnatal maturation of astrocytes in the rat visual cortex was analysed by immunostaining the astroglial proteins vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein with poly- and monoclonal antibodies. Vimentin immunoreactivity was present in the visual cortex up to the third postnatal week, whereas immunolabelling first disappeared in the cortical layers and then in the white matter. In the early postnatal period, vimentin antibodies labelled radial glial fibres. After the first postnatal week staining of radial glial fibres gradually disappeared and vimentin immunoreactivity was localized in a few protoplasmic astrocytes in the grey matter and fibrous astrocytes in the white matter. The development of glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive astrocytes was not fully complete until postnatal day 50. Glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive radial glial fibres were present after birth and disappeared towards the end of the third postnatal week. Staining of astrocytes in the white matter and in cortical layers I and VI reached an adult density at postnatal days 8 and 20, respectively. A progressively later development of glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive astrocytes was observed in cortical layers II-V which was completed between postnatal days 47 and 50. In the adult rat visual cortex glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive astrocytes were especially dense in layers I and VI, moderate in layers II/III and V and nearly absent in layer IV and lower layer III. The time course of the loss of vimentin and the gradual appearance of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity in the visual cortex is considered as an index of astrocytic maturation and the spatiotemporal sequence of this maturation pattern is discussed in terms of reciprocal neuron-astrocyte interactions during brain development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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