Rapid Increases in Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein mRNA and Protein Levels in the Copper‐Deficient, Brindled Mouse

Bridget Shafit‐Zagardo, C. Peterson, James E. Goldman

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Abstract: The brindled mouse (Mobr/y) carries an X‐linked mutation that produces severe copper deficiency. Affected males suffer profound deficits in oxidative metabolism. We have examined astrocyte pathology in Mobr/y during development and have found marked changes in the metabolism of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Immunocytochemistry with anti‐GFAP antisera revealed a marked increase in staining at postnatal day 12 (P12), compared to heterozygous female and unaffected male littermates, particularly in neocortex and thalamus. Septum, hypothalamus, and striatum showed little change. Western blot analysis revealed increased levels of GFAP in Mobr/y forebrain and cerebellum. Levels of GFAP mRNA were determined by Northern blotting with a mouse GFAP cDNA probe. At P10, mRNA levels were normal, but increased to 8–10 times normal by P12. Levels at P15 remained similarly elevated. Thus, immunostaining and protein determinations correlate with mRNA elevations. Astrocytes can alter GFAP mRNA and protein levels over a relatively short time. Counts of neocortical cells did not reveal differences in cell numbers between Mobr/y and controls, indicating that the observed changes reflect increased cellular levels and not a large increase in the numbers of astrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1258-1266
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1988



  • Astrocytes
  • Brindled mouse
  • Copper deficiency
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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