Corticosteroid effects on gene expression of myelin basic protein in oligodendrocytes and of glial fibrillary acidic protein in type 1 astrocytes

R. C. Melcangi, V. Magnaghi, I. Cavarretta, M. A. Riva, L. Martini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper describes the effects of corticosterone and deoxycorticosterone (DOG), used in their native or in their 5α-reduced molecular forms (dihydrocorticosterone, DHC; dihydrodeoxycorticosterone, DHDOC; and tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone, THDOC) on the gene expression of the myelin basic protein (MBP) and of the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in pure cultures, respectively, of oligodendrocytes and type 1 astrocytes obtained from the neonatal rat brain. Among the different steroids tested (corticosterone, DHC, DOG, DHDOC and THDOC), only DHDOC was effective on the gene expression of MBP in the oligodendrocyte cultures; the mRNA levels of this typical oligodendrocyte marker were decreased following exposure to this steroid for 24 h. In the case of the astrocytic marker GFAP, its gene expression was increased by the exposure to corticosterone for 6 and 24 h, while DHC was ineffective; the mineralocorticoid DOC was also ineffective, while its 5α-reduced derivative, DHDOC, strongly inhibited GFAP gene expression, starting at 6 h after beginning of the treatment. In conclusion, the present data show that: (1) adrenal steroids possessing gluco- and mineralocorticoid activities may influence the gene expression of the astrocytic marker GFAP; (2) the 5α-reduced metabolite of DOG, DHDOC is able to influence the gene expression not only of GFAP but also that of MBP, which are, respectively, typical markers of the astrocytes and the oligodendrocytes; (3) the metabolic conversion of hormonal steroids into their 5α-reduced metabolites, which also occurs in the glia, could be implicated in the biochemical control of oligodendrocyte and astrocyte functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-733
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • Astrocytes
  • Corticoids
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • Mineralocorticoids
  • Myelin basic protein
  • Oligodendrocytes
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Corticosteroid effects on gene expression of myelin basic protein in oligodendrocytes and of glial fibrillary acidic protein in type 1 astrocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this