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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Redistribution of MAP2 immunoreactivity in the neurohypophysial astrocytes of adult rats during dehydration.

The low-molecular-weight microtubule-associated protein-2 (LMW MAP2) is expressed in immature and developing brains, and decreases its content dramatically along with maturation of the central nervous system. In our previous studies, we demonstrated through western blots and dual-labeling immunohistochemistry that LMW MAP2 is expressed in the pituicytes, modified astrocytes of the neurohypophysis in adult rats. The present study aimed to examine changes in the MAP2 immunoreactivity within pituicyte in adult rats under various hydration states using quantitative morphometrical analysis to demonstrate in vivo shape conversion of the pituicyte morphology. In well-hydrated control rats, light microscopic observation revealed that MAP2-stained pituicytes ramified long and well-branched processes. At electron microscopic level, MAP2 immunoreactivity was found in the fine process and cell body of all pituicyte cytoplasm, but not in the axonal terminals containing neurosecretory vesicles. The quantitative analysis demonstrated that the cell size and perimeter of MAP2-stained pituicytes were significantly greater as compared with those of cells stained with glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). When the rats were dehydrated with water deprivation or drinking of 2% saline solution, the process of MAP2-stained pituicytes was less branched due to retracting their cellular processes as compared with those of well-hydrated control and rehydrated rats. The quantitative analysis further demonstrated that water deprivation significantly reduced the cell size, perimeter and length of cellular processes of MAP2-stained pituicytes as compared with those of control. The present finding indicates that MAP2 staining is better method for investigating in vivo shape conversion of the pituicyte morphology than GFAP one. Moreover, the finding that hydration states significantly and reversibly alter in vivo pituicyte shape supports the hypothesis that the plastic shape conversion of pituicyte morphology is responsible for morphological plasticity in the neurohypophysis.[1]


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