Discrepancy in the Usage of GFAP as a Marker of Satellite Glial Cell Reactivity

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Satellite glial cells (SGCs) surrounding the neuronal somas in peripheral sensory ganglia are sensitive to neuronal stressors, which induce their reactive state. It is believed that such induced gliosis affects the signaling properties of the primary sensory neurons and is an important component of the neuropathic phenotype leading to pain and other sensory disturbances. Efforts to understand and manipulate such gliosis relies on reliable markers to confirm induced SGC reactivity and ultimately the efficacy of targeted intervention. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is currently the only widely used marker for such analyses. However, we have previously described the lack of SGC upregulation of GFAP in a mouse model of sciatic nerve injury, suggesting that GFAP may not be a universally suitable marker of SGC gliosis across species and experimental models. To further explore this, we here investigate the regulation of GFAP in two different experimental models in both rats and mice. We found that whereas GFAP was upregulated in both rodent species in the applied inflammation model, only the rat demonstrated increased GFAP in SGCs following sciatic nerve injury; we did not observe any such GFAP upregulation in the mouse model at either protein or mRNA levels. Our results demonstrate an important discrepancy between species and experimental models that prevents the usage of GFAP as a universal marker for SGC reactivity.

StatusUdgivet - aug. 2021


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