Response of Astrocytes to Pressure



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Astrocytes are the most abundant cell type in mammalian brain; however their function in the response to brain injury are poorly understood. Reactive astrocytes mediate the response to neural injury in two waves; initially they eliminate damaged neurons and alert the immune system to the injury. Following this, astrocytes begin the formation of the glial scar. To study the role of astrocytes, we observe changes in gene expression, physiological changes, and behavioral changes in Xenopus laevis tadpoles after brain injury occurs. There was no difference in death rates between the pressure and the control groups. The behavior analysis between the control group and the brain injury (pressure) group shows an alteration in behavior pattern as early as 48 hours. However, these differences minimizes with longer hours of recovery. The exact role and mechanism of astrocyte to reactive astrocyte remains unclear in Xenopus laevis. Further study will be designed using a transgenic line where response to an injury can be monitored “live” with a particular astrocyte marker.