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Neural Regen Res. 2020 Apr;15(4):724-730. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.266917.

Characteristic response of striatal astrocytes to dopamine depletion.

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Department of Anatomy, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province; Institute of Medicine, College of Medicine, Jishou University, Jishou, Hunan Province, China.
Periodical Center, the Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.
Department of Anatomy, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.


Astrocytes and astrocyte-related proteins play important roles in maintaining normal brain function, and also regulate pathological processes in brain diseases and injury. However, the role of astrocytes in the dopamine-depleted striatum remains unclear. A rat model of Parkinson's disease was therefore established by injecting 10 μL 6-hydroxydopamine (2.5 μg/μL) into the right medial forebrain bundle. Immunohistochemical staining was used to detect the immunoreactivity of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), calcium-binding protein B (S100B), and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in the striatum, and to investigate the co-expression of GFAP with S100B and STAT3. Western blot assay was used to measure the protein expression of GFAP, S100B, and STAT3 in the striatum. Results demonstrated that striatal GFAP-immunoreactive cells had an astrocytic appearance under normal conditions, but that dopamine depletion induced a reactive phenotype with obvious morphological changes. The normal striatum also contained S100B and STAT3 expression. S100B-immunoreactive cells were uniform in the striatum, with round bodies and sparse, thin processes. STAT3-immunoreactive cells presented round cell bodies with sparse processes, or were darkly stained with a large cell body. Dopamine deprivation induced by 6-hydroxydopamine significantly enhanced the immunohistochemical positive reaction of S100B and STAT3. Normal striatal astrocytes expressed both S100B and STAT3. Striatal dopamine deprivation increased the number of GFAP/S100B and GFAP/STAT3 double-labeled cells, and increased the protein levels of GFAP, S100B, and STAT3. The present results suggest that morphological changes in astrocytes and changes in expression levels of astrocyte-related proteins are involved in the pathological process of striatal dopamine depletion. The study was approved by Animal Care and Use Committee of Sun Yat-sen University, China (Zhongshan Medical Ethics 2014 No. 23) on September 22, 2014.


6-hydroxydopamine; Parkinson’s disease; S100B; STAT3; astrocyte; dopamine depletion; dopaminergic neurons; striatum


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