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Exp Neurol. 1998 May;151(1):1-13.

Tanycytes present in the adult rat mediobasal hypothalamus support the regeneration of monoaminergic axons.

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INSERM U336, University of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France.


We have recently shown that tanycytes present in the median eminence (ME) constitute a preferential support for the regeneration of lesioned neurohypophysial oxytocinergic and vasopressinergic axons. However, although tanycytes are particularly abundant in the ME, they are also present along the third ventricle wall. This study was thus undertaken to determine whether tanycytes present in the mediobasal hypothalamus overlying the ME were also able to support the regeneration of the numerous monoaminergic axons innervating this region. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy combined with double or triple fluorescence immunostaining, we have compared the relationships occurring between glial cells and lesioned catecholaminergic and serotonergic axons at the levels of surgical cuts placed in the dorsomedial hypothalamus devoid of tanycytes or in the ventromedial hypothalamus containing numerous tanycyte processes. In dorsal lesions, catecholaminergic and serotonergic transected fibers were found to abut onto the scar formed along the surgical cut and composed of closely inderdigitating astrocyte processes strongly immunoreactive for both glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin (VIM). In ventral lesions, the lesional scar was composed of GFAP-immunoreactive (IR) and VIM-IR astrocyte processes and of VIM-IR but GFAP-negative processes that were identified as tanycytic processes. In all the ventral lesions examined, numerous catecholaminergic and serotonergic fibers were found to regenerate into the surgical cut in association with the VIM-IR, GFAP-negative tanycyte processes. On the other hand, such regenerating fibers were never found in scar portions containing only GFAP-IR astrocytic structures. These data indicate that, like in the ME, tanycytes present in the mediobasal hypothalamus of adult rat provide a substrate that favors the regeneration of lesioned axons.

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