In Human Fetal Astrocytes Exposure to Interleukin‐1β Stimulates Acquisition of the GD3+ Phenotype and Inhibits Cell Division

Sunhee C. Lee, Wei Liu, Dennis W. Dickson, Celia F. Brosnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Abstract: In human astrocyte cultures established from second‐trimester fetal brain tissue, ∼5–10% of total astrocyte population in unstimulated cultures were GD3+/glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)+. The GD3+ cells were always GFAP+ and grew as flat, highly spread cells but changed to process‐bearing cells after interleukin‐1β (IL‐1β) stimulation. It is interesting that IL‐1β, a known mitogen for rat astrocytes, suppressed human fetal astrocyte proliferation as determined by [3H]thymidine incorporation, bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling, and cell counting. The GD3+ population, however, consistently increased in absolute number after IL‐1β stimulation, in a dose‐ and time‐dependent manner. The IL‐1β‐mediated increase in number of GD3+ astrocytes was independent of initial cell density or serum concentration. By flow cytometry, IL‐1β enhanced both the mean fluorescence intensity and the percentage of GD3+ cells. To investigate whether the increase in GD3+ astrocyte cell number was due to proliferation of preexisting GD3+ astrocytes or due to conversion of GD3 to GD3+ cells, we performed BrdU/GD3 double immunocytochemistry. BrdU/GD3 double‐positive cells were extremely rare in both control and IL‐1β‐stimulated cultures. Moreover, an increase in number of GD3+ astrocytes was still observed in control and IL‐1β‐stimulated cultures where GD3+ cells had been initially eliminated by cell sorting. These results indicate that GD3+ astrocytes in human fetal culture may represent a postmitotic, differentiated, distinct phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1800-1807
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • Astrocytes
  • Culture
  • GD3 ganglioside
  • Human
  • Interleukin‐1
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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