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J Comp Neurol. 2014 Jan 1;522(1):204-24. doi: 10.1002/cne.23450.

Laminar and subcellular heterogeneity of GLAST and GLT-1 immunoreactivity in the developing postnatal mouse hippocampus.

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Institute of Neurobiology, Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, 40225, Duesseldorf, Germany.


Astrocytes express two sodium-coupled transporters, glutamate-aspartate transporter (GLAST) and glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1), which are essential for the maintenance of low extracellular glutamate levels. We performed a comparative analysis of the laminar and subcellular expression profile of GLAST and GLT-1 in the developing postnatal mouse hippocampus by using immunohistochemistry and western blotting and employing high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Astrocytes were identified by costaining with glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) or S100β. In CA1, the density of GFAP-positive cells and GFAP expression rose during the first 2 weeks after birth, paralleled by a steady increase in GLAST immunoreactivity and protein content. Upregulation of GLT-1 was completed only at postnatal days (P) P20-25 and was thus delayed by about 10 days. GLAST staining was highest along the stratum pyramidale and was especially prominent in astrocytes at P3-5. GLAST immunoreactivity indicated no preferential localization to a specific cellular compartment. GLT-1 exhibited a laminar expression pattern from P10-15 on, with the highest immunoreactivity in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare. At the cellular level, GLT-1 immunoreactivity did not entirely cover astrocyte somata and exhibited clusters at processes. In neonatal and juvenile animals, discrete clusters of GLT-1 were also detected at perivascular endfeet. From these results, we conclude there is a remarkable subcellular heterogeneity of GLAST and GLT-1 expression in the developing hippocampus. The clustering of GLT-1 at astrocyte endfeet indicates that it might serve a specialized functional role at the blood-brain barrier during formation of the hippocampal network.


EAAT; GFAP, S100β; astrocyte; perivascular endfeet

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