Lepore, Gianluca and Gadau, Sergio Domenico and Peruffo, Antonella and Mura, Arcadia and Mura, Emilio and Floris, Antonello and Balzano, Francesca and Zedda, Marco and Farina, Vittorio (2011) Aromatase expression in cultured fetal sheep astrocytes after nitrosative/oxidative damage. Cell and Tissue Research, Vol. 344 (3), p. 407-413. ISSN 0302-766X. eISSN 1432-0878. Article.
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Aromatase, the enzyme converting androgens into estrogens, is involved in many brain processes such as neural differentiation and plasticity or the prevention of cell death. We have previously observed an increase in aromatase immunoreactivity in sheep neurons exposed in vitro to the oxidant 3-nitro-L-tyrosine. However, little is known regarding the way that sheep astrocytes cope with nitrosative stress, a condition occurring in sheep in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as scrapie and Maedi-Visna. Our aim has been to evaluate the effects of 3-nitro-L-tyrosine on astrocyte primary cultures from 90-day-old fetal sheep brain. Living cells were observed and characterized by immunofluorescence with a GFAP antibody, which indicated that the majority of the cells were astrocytes. A viability assay was performed on both untreated and treated cells. Reverse transcription with the polymerase chain reaction was undertaken to monitor time- and dose-dependent variations in aromatase gene expression. Stressed astrocytes showed signs of eterioration, were reduced in number, and appeared round with few short processes; the cell death rate was ∼30%. Aromatase expression was detected starting from a 24-h exposure to 1 mM 3-nitro-L-tyrosine and reached the highest levels at 72 h. Thus, oxidative damage probably results in the local production of neuroprotective estradiol by reactive astrocytes via the aromatization of testosterone.
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