Rodriguez, J. J.; Davies, H. A.; Errington, M. L.; Verkhratsky, A.; Bliss, T. V. P. and Stewart, M. G.
ARG3.1/ARC expression in hippocampal dentate gyrus astrocytes: ultrastructural evidence and co-localization with glial fibrillary acidic protein.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 12(2),
Synaptic efficacy following long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory consolidation is associated with changes in the expression of immediate early genes (IEGs). These changes are often accompanied by increased expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). While the protein products of the majority of IEGs are mainly restricted to the cell body, Arg3.1/Arc product is rapidly delivered to dendrites, where it accumulates close to synaptic sites. Arg3.1/Arc protein was originally considered neurone specific; however, we have recently found Arg3.1/Arc immunoreactivity (Arg3.1/Arc-IR) within glial cells and demonstrated its increased expression after LTP in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG). Here, we have further investigated this novel finding, using electron microscopic immunocytochemistry to determine the localization and sub-cellular distribution of Arg3.1/Arc protein in GFAP positive glia (GFAP-IR) in the DG. Arg3.1/Arc labelling was seen prominently in GFAP-IR glial cell bodies and in large- and medium-sized glial filamentous processes. GFAPlabelled medium–small peri-synaptic glial profiles also displayed Arg3.1/Arc-IR; however, the very thin and distal glial filaments only displayed Arc-IR. Arc-IR was distributed throughout the cytoplasm, often associated with GFAP filaments, and along the plasma membrane of glial processes. Peri-synaptic glial Arg3.1/Arc- IR processes were apposed to pre- and/or post-synaptic profiles at asymmetric axospinous synapses. These data, taken with our earlier study which provided evidence for an increase in astrocytic Arg3.1/Arc-IR after the induction of LTP, suggest a role for glial Arg3.1/Arc in structural and synaptic plasticity which may be critical for the maintenance of cognitive functions.
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