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

Stimulation of astrocytes affects cytotoxic brain edema.

Cytotoxic brain edema has been produced in rats by subacute intoxication with triethyltin (TET). Some animals were allowed to recover spontaneously, others were post-treated with an extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGB) for 1 to 4 weeks, beginning 3 days after intoxication was stopped. The time course of the resolution of the edema was studied biochemically and morphologically by light microscopy, histochemistry and electron microscopy (EM). Morphometric evaluation showed that the spontaneous reabsorption of TET-induced edema was very slow: it was evident only 2 weeks after ending TET administration and it required more than 4 weeks to be completed. EGB therapy markedly decreased the vacuolation, as well as the abnormal levels of water and sodium contents, 1 week after beginning the treatment. Less influence of EGB was observed at the later stages. During spontaneous recovery, astroglial cells in the edematous white matter of TET-intoxicated animals showed short and swollen processes containing few organelles, low levels of NADH- and NADPH-tetrazolium reductase activities and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunofluorescence for about 2 weeks. During EGB therapy the astrocytes regained their cellular processes, containing intense oxidative enzyme activities and GFAP-immunofluorescence as early as after 1 week of treatment. In the EM, astrocytes often appeared hypertrophic, surrounding myelin vacuoles and displaying phagocytosis of myelin debris. We conclude that EGB can accelerate the reabsorption of TET-induced cerebral edema and improve the astroglial reaction.[1]


  1. Stimulation of astrocytes affects cytotoxic brain edema. Sancesario, G., Kreutzberg, G.W. Acta Neuropathol. (1986) [Pubmed]
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