Recent evidence suggests that interleukin (IL)‐1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) may play a role in astrogliosis following injury to the CNS. The short‐term biochemical effects of these immune‐related cytokines were determined on cultured rat polygonal and process‐bearing astrocytes. Both IL‐1 and TNF stimulated the rate of thymidine incorporation in polygonal astrocytes up to 137% and 215%, respectively, over the level observed in untreated controls. By contrast, thymidine incorporation was relatively unaffected by these cytokines in process‐bearing astrocytes. The cytokines did not significantly affect the level of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) within polygonal astrocytes, even though they appeared to downregulate the expression of GFAP mRNA by as much as 62%. Both cytokines increased the intracellular expression of transferrin (Tf) within some polygonal astrocytes. In untreated control cultures, fewer than 2% of polygonal astrocytes were immunoreactive for Tf. By contrast, approximately 30% of polygonal astrocytes treated with IL‐1 or TNF‐α became strongly immunoreactive for Tf. Neither IL‐2 nor a number of other known growth factors appeared to alter the level of immunoreactive Tf in these cells. Process‐bearing astrocytes were negative for Tf, regardless of the treatment used. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the level of Tf mRNA in cultures of polygonal astrocytes increased 148% above the level observed in untreated controls following treatment with either IL‐1 or TNF, whereas no change was observed following treatment with IL‐2. These results suggest that increased levels of particular cytokines known to be present in injured CNS can produce pronounced biochemical alterations within a subtype of cultured astrocytes. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience