Following peripheral axotomy, the presynaptic terminals are removed from lesioned neurons, that is synaptic stripping. To elucidate involvement of astrocytes and microglia in synaptic stripping, we herein examined the motoneuron perineuronal circumference after hypoglossal nerve transection. As reported previously, axotomy-induced slow cell death occurred in C57BL/6 mice but not in Wistar rats. Synaptophysin labeling in the hypoglossal nucleus exhibited a minor reduction in both species after axotomy. Slice patch recording showed that the mean frequency of miniature postsynaptic currents in axotomized motoneurons was significantly lower in rats than in mice. We then estimated the relative coverage of motoneuron perineuronal circumference by line profile analysis. In the synaptic environment, axotomy-induced intrusion of astrocytic processes was significantly more extensive in rats than in mice, whereas microglial intrusion into the synaptic space was significantly more severe in mice than in rats. Interestingly, in the extrasynaptic environment, the prevalence of contact between astrocytic processes and lesioned motoneurons was significantly increased in rats, while no significant axotomy-induced alterations in astrocytic contact were observed in mice. These findings indicate that astrocytic, but not microglial, reaction may primarily mediate some anti-apoptotic effects through synaptic stripping after hypoglossal nerve axotomy. In addition, enlargement of astrocytic processes in the extrasynaptic environment may also be involved in neuronal protection via the increased uptake of excessive glutamate.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - May 19 2011|
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