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Lysophosphatidic acid induces astrocyte proliferation in hippocampus slices partially through activating extracellular signal-regulated kinases

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The goal of the present study is to test the hypothesis that LPA induces proliferation of astrocytes in hippocampus in vivo via phosphorylation of ERK 1/2. We first characterized the expression of GFAP, a special marker fiber protein of astrocytes, in brain slices after direct injection of LPA into hippocampus by immunohistochemistry, and found that LPA induced a remarkable proliferation of astrocytes. Then double-lablled immunofluorescence was used to detect GFAP and phosphorylation ERK 1/2 (p-ERK 1/2), LPA induced an immediate (10 min) and transient (<30 min) phosphorylation of ERK 1/2, and sequence sustained activation of ERK 1/2 was observed, which last for at least 3 weeks after injection of LPA. Reactions are inhibited by U0126, a specific pharmacological mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK) inhibitor. Laser confocal scanning was used to study spatial relationship of p-ERK and astrocytes. Amazingly, the early (<7 days) phosphorylation of ERK 1/2 is not expressed in astrocytes but in area where neurons and/or in other cell type(s) occupied, expression of p-ERK 1/2 in astrocytes is not detected until 14 days after LPA injection and lasts for at least 3 weeks. Taken together, these data suggest that LPA play an important role in proliferation of astrocytes through phosphorylation of ERK 1/2 in hippocampus. It provides further proof for the functions of LPA in CNS injury, and may contribute to clinical therapy for relative diseases.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurology, Renmin Hospital of Pingxiang, Pingxiang 337000, People's Republic of China; 2: Department of Neurology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, People's Republic of China


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