Glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity in the prefrontal cortex distinguishes younger from older adults in major depressive disorder

José Javier Miguel-Hidalgo*, Christie Baucom, Ginny Dilley, James C. Overholser, Herbert Y. Meltzer, Craig A. Stockmeier, Grazyna Rajkowska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

235 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Recent postmortem studies in major depressive disorder (MDD) provide evidence for a reduction in the packing density and number of glial cells in different regions of the prefrontal cortex; however, the specific types of glia involved in those morphologic changes are unknown. Methods: The territory occupied by the astroglial marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was measured as an areal fraction in cortical layers III, IV, and V in sections from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) of MDD and control subjects. In addition, the packing density of GFAP-immunoreactive somata was measured by a direct three-dimensional cell counting method. Results: The mean areal fraction and packing density of GFAP-immunoreactive astrocytes in the dlPFC of MDD subjects were not significantly different from those in control subjects; however, in MDD there was a significant strong positive correlation between age and GFAP immunoreactivity. When the MDD group was divided into younger (30-45 years old) and older (46-86) adults, in the five younger MDD adults, areal fraction and packing density were smaller than the smallest values of the control subjects. In contrast, among older MDD subjects these parameters tended to be greater than in the older control subjects. Conclusions: The present results suggest that the GFAP-immunoreactive astroglia is differentially involved in the pathology of MDD in younger compared with older adults. (C) 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-873
Number of pages13
JournalBiological psychiatry
Volume48
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2000

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Astroglia
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Human postmortem
  • Neuropathology
  • Quantitative immunohistochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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