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Sequence of neuronal responses assessed by immunohistochemistry in the newborn rat brain after hypoxia-ischemia

      Abstract

      Objective: Our purpose was to study the neuronal responses of heat shock protein-72 (a stress-inducible protein) and microtubule-associated protein-2 (a constitutive protein of the neuronal cytoskeleton) after hypoxia-ischemia and their relationship with permanent damage in the newborn rat brain. Study design: Seven-day-old rats were exposed to unilateral carotid artery ligation followed by 2 hours of hypoxia (8% oxygen/92% nitrogen) and then killed at time points ranging from 1 to 72 hours after injury. Brains were removed for immunohistochemical and routine staining. Results: Heat shock protein-72 appearance and microtubule-associated protein-2 disappearance occurred from 1 hour after injury, mainly in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation and the cerebral cortex. Such alterations reached maximal levels at 24 hours for both proteins. Microtubule-associated protein-2 staining recovered in almost all parts of the brain. However, the hippocampal CA3 showed a delay in the responses for both proteins, and microtubule-associated protein-2 did not recover the response to immunostaining. Histologic evaluation at 72 hours after hypoxia by routine methods showed predominant damage in the hippocampal CA3. Conclusion: Our results show that delayed responses of heat shock protein-72 and microtubule-associated protein-2 are related to a high incidence of neuronal cell loss in the hippocampal CA3 region.

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