Characterization of Adult Rat Astrocyte Cultures
Astrocytes, a major class of glial cells, regulate neurotransmitter systems, synaptic processing, ion homeostasis, antioxidant defenses and energy metabolism. Astrocyte cultures derived from rodent brains have been extensively used to characterize astrocytes' biochemical, pharmacological and morphological properties. The aims of this study were to develop a protocol for routine preparation and to characterize a primary astrocyte culture from the brains of adult (90 days old) Wistar rats. For
... s we used enzymatic digestion (trypsin and papain) and mechanical dissociation. Medium exchange occurred from 24 h after obtaining a culture and after, twice a week up to reach the confluence (around the 4 th to 5 th week). Under basal conditions, adult astrocytes presented a polygonal to fusiform and flat morphology. Furthermore, approximately 95% the cells were positive for the main glial markers, including GFAP, glutamate transporters, glutamine synthetase and S100B. Moreover, the astrocytes were able to take up glucose and glutamate. Adult astrocytes were also able to respond to acute H 2 O 2 exposure, which led to an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and a decrease in glutamate uptake. The antioxidant compound resveratrol was able to protect adult astrocytes from oxidative damage. A response of adult astrocytes to an inflammatory stimulus with LPS was also observed. Changes in the actin cytoskeleton were induced in stimulated astrocytes, most likely by a mechanism dependent on MAPK and Rho A signaling pathways. Taken together, these findings indicate that the culture model described in this study exhibits the biochemical and physiological properties of astrocytes and may be useful for elucidating the mechanisms related to the adult brain, exploring changes between neonatal and adult astrocytes, as well as investigating compounds involved in cytotoxicity and cytoprotection.