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Volume 64, Issue 4


GFAP-positive astrocytes are rare or absent in primary adult human brain tissue cultures

Ivana Macikova / Anna Perzelova / Peter Mraz / Ivan Bizik / Juraj Steno
Published Online: 2009-07-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-009-0136-1


Traditionally, astrocytes are divided into fibrous and protoplasmic types based on their morphologic appearance. Here the cultures were prepared separately from the adult human cortical gray and white matter of brain biopsies. Both cultures differed only in the number of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive cells. In the gray matter these were absent or rare, whereas in confluent cultures from the white matter they reached 0.1% of all cells. Three main morphologic types of GFAP-positive cells were found in this study: stellate, bipolar and large flat cells. GFAP-positive cells with two or three long processes mimic a neuron-like morphology. We did not find process-bearing cells expressing neuronal markers (MAP-2, NF, and N-CAM). The conflicting reports concerning GFAP immunostaining and the study dealing with the presence of putative neurons in adult human brain cultures are discussed with respect to these findings. The latter classification of astrocytes into type 1 and type 2 is based on immunostaining to A2B5 antigen: type 1 (GFAP+/A2B5−) and type 2 (GFAP+/A2B5+) astrocytes are proposed to be analogous to protoplasmic and fibrous astrocytes, respectively. In adult human brain cultures we found only small amount of A2B5-positive cells. Double immunofluorescence revealed that astroglial cells of similar fibrous or bipolar shape grown on one coverslip were either GFAP+/A2B5+ or GFAP+/A2B5−. On the other hand, the A2B5+/GFAP− immunophenotype was not observed. These results indicate that in general the cell phenotype from adult human brain tissue is not well established when they are in culture.

Keywords: adult human astrocytes; neuronal markers; GFAP; A2B5 antigen; O4 antigen; GalC antigen

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About the article

Published Online: 2009-07-17

Published in Print: 2009-08-01

Citation Information: Biologia, Volume 64, Issue 4, Pages 833–839, ISSN (Online) 1336-9563, ISSN (Print) 0006-3088, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-009-0136-1.

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© 2009 Slovak Academy of Sciences. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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