Neonatal separation stress reduces glial fibrillary acidic protein- and S100β-immunoreactive astrocytes in the rat medial precentral cortex

Kristina Musholt, Giovanni Cirillo, Carlo Cavaliere, Maria Rosaria Bianco, Joerg Bock, Carina Helmeke, Katharina Braun, Michele Papa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The interactions between the mother/parents and their offspring provides socioemotional input, which is essential for the establishment and maintenance of synaptic networks in prefrontal and limbic brain regions. Since glial cells are known to play an important role in developmental and experience-driven synaptic plasticity, the effect of an early adverse emotional experience induced by maternal separation for 1 or 6 h on the expression of the glia specific proteins S100β and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was quantitatively analyzed in anterior cingulate cortex, hippocampus, and precentral medial cortex. Three animal groups were analyzed at postnatal day 14: (i) separated for 1 h; (ii) separated for 6 h; (iii) undisturbed (control). Twenty-four hours after stress exposure, the stressed brains showed significantly reduced numbers of S100β-immunoreactive (ir) cells in the anterior cingulate cortex (6-h stress) and in the precentral medial cortex (1-and 6-h stress). Significantly reduced numbers of GFAP-ir cells were observed only in the medial precentral cortex (1- and 6-h stress); no significant changes were observed in the anterior cingulate cortex. No significant changes of the two glial markers were observed in the hippocampus. Double-labeling experiments with GFAP and pCREB revealed pCREB labeling only in the hippocampus, where the stressed brains (1 and 6 h) displayed significantly reduced numbers of GFAP/pCREB-ir glial cells. The observed downregulation of glia-specific marker proteins is in line with our hypothesis that emotional experience can alter glia cell activation in the juvenile limbic system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Neurobiology
Volume69
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

Keywords

  • Astrocyte
  • Depression
  • Limbic system
  • Maternal separation
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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