Brain research

Focal cerebral ischemia enhances glial expression of ecto-5'-nucleotidase.

PMID 9359605


The effect of ischemia on the reactive expression of ecto-5'-nucleotidase in rat brain was studied 6 h and 1, 2 and 7 days after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). The distribution of 5'-nucleotidase in the infarcted brain was compared to markers for astrocytes (glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)) and microglia (complement receptor type 3, antibody OX42) using histological staining or immunohistochemistry. 5'-Nucleotidase could be associated with reactive astrocytes by immunohistochemistry and with reactive microglia by enzyme histochemistry. In the untreated control 5'-nucleotidase was associated with astrocytes only in the hippocampus and the submeningeal space. After ischemia the enzyme was expressed on reactive astrocytes in the tissue surrounding the volume of infarction. Individual reactive astrocytes were observed 6 h after MCAO and the astrocytic expression became continuously enhanced during the following days. An enzyme histochemical analysis of 5'-nucleotidase activity revealed a postischemic increase in reaction product around the infarcted tissue. Seven days after MCAO a discrete band (0.2-0.4 mm) of reaction product characterized the rim of the infarcted area. This band of activity of 5'-nucleotidase colocalized with a band of immunoreactivity for OX42, indicative of an intense accumulation of 5'-nucleotidase expressing microglia. Our results suggest that ischemia following permanent MCAO results in an upregulation of the capacity for the hydrolysis of nucleotides within the tissue adjacent to the infarcted volume. Nucleotides released from the damaged cells can be hydrolyzed and the adenosine eventually formed may exert neuroprotective functions limiting the extent of damage.

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