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The accumulation of reactive microglia in the degenerating areas of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) tissue is a key cellular event creating a chronic inflammatory environment that results in motoneuron death. We have developed a new culture system that consists in rat spinal cord embryonic explants in which motoneurons migrate outside the explant,(More)
Sex steroids during the perinatal period are able to modify the postnatal development of neurons within steroid-sensitive areas in the rat brain. This study was designed to test the possible influence of the early postnatal levels of sex steroids on the morphology of the astrocytes. The experimental manipulation of the neonatal levels of sex steroids was(More)
Adult female rats showing regular vaginal cycles were studied in order to determine the number of axosomatic synapses in thin sections of the arcuate nucleus. The number of synapses per length of perikaryal membrane was significantly decreased in estrus, compared to other days of the estrous cycle (P less than 0.05). The reduction in the number of synapses(More)
Freeze-fracture methodology was used to study rat hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (AN) neuronal plasma membrane organization following in vitro perfusion of brain slices with 17-beta-estradiol (17 beta E2) or other test compounds. Physiological levels (10(-10) M) of 17 beta E2 caused an increase in neuronal membrane exo-endocytotic pits within 1 min of(More)
Adult cycling female rats were injected with estradiol valerate (2 mg/100 g body wt.), a treatment which has previously been shown to result in synaptic remodelling in the arcuate nucleus and constant vaginal estrus. During the 32 weeks following estrogen treatment, arcuate nucleus neuronal plasma membranes were quantitatively assessed for intramembrane(More)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective degeneration and death of motoneurons in the spinal cord, brainstem and motor cortex which causes progressive muscle weakness and paralysis. Although the molecular mechanisms causing the disease remain unknown, excitotoxicity and loss of trophic support have(More)
The immunohistochemical distribution of the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a marker of glial filaments, was studied on coronal sections of the globus pallidus, the area CA4 of the hippocampus and the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, 3 estrogen-sensitive areas of the rat brain. The number and the surface density of the GFAP-immunoreactive cells(More)
Exo-endocytotic images and intramembrane particles were quantitatively assessed in freeze-fracture replicas from the plasma membrane of dispersed fetal rat cortical neurons (day 16 gestation) grown for 24 days in culture. The addition of 10(-10) M 17 beta-estradiol to the culture medium resulted in a significant increase in the numerical density of(More)
Freeze-fracture methodology was used to study the organization of the neuronal plasma membrane in the rat arcuate nucleus, an oestrogen sensitive area of the hypothalamus. The quantitative evaluation of freeze-fracture replicas of the perikarya, dendritic shafts and dendritic spines revealed that the numerical density of intramembranous particles varied(More)
Gene transfer to spinal cord cells may be crucial for therapy in spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Lentiviral vectors are efficient for transduction of a variety of cells, but like all integrating vectors they pose a risk of insertional mutagenesis. Integration-deficient lentiviral vectors (IDLVs) remain episomal(More)