Muller cell expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein after genetic and experimental photoreceptor degeneration in the rat retina

A. J. Eisenfeld, A. H. Bunt-Milam, P. V. Sarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Scopus citations

Abstract

Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is normally found in astrocytes. In the normal rat retina at all ages, only astrocytes stain for GFAP. This staining pattern is also found in RCS rats with inherited retinal dystrophy younger than 38 days. Beginning on day 38, when about 61% of the photoreceptors have degenerated, a few GFAP-positive fibers span the retina from the inner limiting membrane to the external limiting membrane. By day 41 and at all later ages examined, the radial fibers of Muller cells are labeled throughout the retina. To determine if the expression of GFAP in Muller cells is a response to photoreceptor necrosis or might be a direct effect of the mutant gene, we induced photoreceptor degeneration in normal, adult Sprague-Dawley rats by exposing them to constant light for variable periods of time. After 3 days in constant light, there is a 20% reduction in the number of photoreceptors and many Muller cells are positive for GFAP. Immunoblot studies confirmed that the anti-GFAP reacted with a single protein from retina that corresponded in molecular weight and Triton-insolubility to GFAP. The immunoblots also corroborated the results from anti-GFAP immunostaining of control and experimental retinas. These results indicate that Muller cells express GFAP immunoreactivity in response to experimentally as well as genetically induced photoreceptor degeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1328
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Volume25
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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