Reactive astrocytosis during progressive infantile hydrocephalus and after ventriculoperitoneal shunting

J. P. McAllister, U. W.E. Bingaman, N. Boonsivang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although infantile hydrocephalus occurs frequently, relatively little is known about both the onset of neuronal damage and the potential for recovery in this disorder. Reactive astrocytosis is commonly associated with neural pathology and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is an accepted marker for this response. To investigate the temporal changes in astrogliosis during the progression of infantile hydrocephalus, GFAP levels were analysed in a feline model of kaolin-induced hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus was induced by intracisternal injection of kaolin in 10-day-old kittens. Animals were subsequently prepared as 4 groups (n - 3-4 per group) 1) acute untreated hydrocéphalies that survived 15 days postkaolin, 2) chronic untreated hydrocéphalies that survived 75 days postkaolin, 3) treated hydrocéphalies that received VP shunts at 15 days postkaolin and survived 10 days post shunt, 4) treated hydrocéphalies that received VP shunts at 15 days post-kaolin and survived 60 days postshunt. These experimental animals were compared to saline-injected agematched control animals. Progression and severity of ventriculomegaly were monitored by ultrasonography at various times before and after shunting and at the time of sacrifice. RNA and protein were isolated from primary visual cortex (Brodmann's area 17) and analysed by northern and western blotting techniques. Acute untreated hydrocéphalie animals ex-4 hibited GFAP RNA and protein levels that were 100% and 159% higher than controls, respectively. GFAP levels returned to normal in the shunt treated animals. Chronic hydrocéphalie animals exhibited GFAP RNA and protein levels that were 209 % and 764 % higher than controls respectively. These results suggest that 1) an astrocytic response occurs during the progression of hydrocephalus, 2) this response can be reversed by successful shunt treatment, 3) untreated chronic hydrocephalus continues to produce even more pronounced astrocytic response. Thus, GFAP measurements of CSF samples may have diagnostic value during the progression of hydrocephalus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)III
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery, Supplement
Volume7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

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