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Reduced subcommissural organ glycoprotein immunoreactivity precedes aqueduct closure and ventricular dilatation in H-Tx rat hydrocephalus

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The H-Tx rat has fetal-onset hydrocephalus associated with closure of the cerebral aqueduct and a reduction in the secretory cells of the subcommissural organ (SCO), a circumventricular organ situated in the dorsal wall of the cerebral aqueduct. The objective of this study was to determine the role of the SCO in hydrocephalus pathogenesis. Serial brain sections through aqueduct regions containing the SCO from H-Tx rats, together with non-hydrocephalic Fischer F344 rats, were studied at E16, before hydrocephalus onset, at E17, the beginning of onset, and at P0 when the hydrocephalus was overt. Tissues were immunostained by AFRU, an antibody against the SCO glycoprotein, and for the intermediate filament nestin. The area of SCO cells with AFRU immunostaining and the severity of lateral ventricle dilatation were quantified by image analysis. At E16 all fetuses had distinct SCO ependymal cells, open aqueducts and normal lateral ventricles. The H-Tx fetuses fell into two groups with large areas and small areas of AFRU immunoreactivity, all with a full complement of SCO cells. By E17, fetuses with small areas of immunoreactivity had reduced numbers of tall SCO secretory cells, and most had aqueducts closed posteriorly and dilated ventricles. Three additional fetuses with small areas of immunoreactivity had narrow but patent aqueducts and normal ventricles, and another had an open aqueduct and dilated ventricles. At P0, pups previously identified as hydrocephalic had small areas of AFRU immunoreactivity, an aqueduct that was closed anteriorly but open posteriorly, ventricular dilatation, and an absence of SCO secretory cells. The aqueduct even when closed was lined by typical ependymal cells throughout. Decreased nestin immunostaining accompanied the SCO changes. It is concluded that reduced SCO glycoprotein immunoreactivity precedes both aqueduct closure and expansion of the lateral ventricles in the H-Tx rat.

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We thank E.M. Rodríguez for providing the AFRU antibody and Logan Wolpin for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to H. C. Jones.

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Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NS40359). K.C.S. was supported by the University of Florida Scholars Program and Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid

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Somera, K.C., Jones, H.C. Reduced subcommissural organ glycoprotein immunoreactivity precedes aqueduct closure and ventricular dilatation in H-Tx rat hydrocephalus. Cell Tissue Res 315, 361–373 (2004).

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  • Ontogeny
  • Cerebral aqueduct
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nestin
  • AFRU
  • Rat (H-Tx, Fischer F344)