Neuroprotective effect of ACTH (4-9) in degeneration of hippocampal nerve cells caused by dexamethasone: morphological, immunocytochemical and ultrastructural studies
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. Sustained exposure to glucocorticosteroids (GCs), adrenal hormones secreted during stress, can cause neural degeneration. This is particularly so in the hippocampus, a principal neural target site for GCs. The purpose of this research was an assessment of the neuroprotective effect of ACTH (4-9) in degenerative changes of hippocampal neurons induced by synthetic GC - dexamethasone. Experiments were conducted on male Albino-Swiss mice. We studied the morphology of neurons in the dorsal hippocampus in slides stained with cresyl violet. Immunocytochemical analysis was carried out with the use of monoclonal antibody anti-MAP2 in order to detect alterations in the the neuronal cytoskeleton. We also performed ultrastructural examinations of hippocampal neurons. Quantitative analysis of morphological changes was completed using a computer analyser of histological pictures. It was shown that dexamethasone administered in toxic doses evokes neuronal death in layer CA3 of the hippocampus. Results indicate that ACTH (4-9) shows protective effects in that model. Dexamethasone-induced damage to hippocampal pyramidal neurons (assessed by cell counts, immunocytochemical analysis of cytoskeletal alterations and ultrastructural studies) was significantly reduced in animals administered ACTH (4-9).
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J. Sekita-Krzak, Department of Histology and Embryology with the Lab of Experimental Cytology of Medical University, 11 Radziwillowska St., 20-080 Lublin