Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cell and Molecular Biology
Julius Wells - University of Mississippi
Co-Author(s): Kwamie Harris, University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS ; Alexandra Himel, University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS ; Raymond J. Grill, University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS ; Bernadette E. Grayson, University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS
Injury to the spinal cord results in long-term, debilitating sequelae to individuals. Spinal cord injured patients have increased risk for the development of metabolic disease which could further hinder the effectiveness of treatments to rehabilitate the cord and improve quality of life long-term. Here we sought to determine whether microglial and astrocytic morphologic changes exist in the brainstem, particularly the nucleus of the solitary tract, which is strongly involved in the control of food intake.
Adult, male, Long Evans rats received either thoracic level contusion of the spinal cord (tSCI) or sham laminectomy (Sham) or were na?ve to both procedures (Na?ve) and then were allowed to recover for 4 weeks. Body weight, food intake and adiposity were measured. Brainstems were harvested after 4 weeks and processed for immunohistochemical (IHC) detection of microglia (IBA1) and astrocytes (GFAP). tSCI rats exhibited reduced of IBA1 positive microglia in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS), *p < 0.05, Naive vs. tSCI. In addition, tSCI animals exhibited a reduced density of GFAP positive astrocytes in the NTS in comparison to either Naive or Sham rats *p < 0.05, Naive vs. tSCI. *p < 0.05, Sham vs. tSCI. Taken together, these data suggest that the NTS may be protected from immune perturbations after the first weeks of recovery from the thoracic spinal contusion. Reduced presence of microglia and astrocytes may be in response to short-term remodeling of neural networks in the NTS of the brainstem. Further work is needed to establish the cause of these changes.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): MS INBRE
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Bernadette Grayson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: For my portion of these studies, I sectioned the harvested brains of these rats and conducted immunohistochemistry for the staining of two antibodies, ionized calcium binding adaptor 1(IBA1) which identifies microglia and glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) which identifies astrocytes. I also performed a real-time PCR using extracted RNA from the second cohort of rat brains.