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Keywords:

  • astrocytes;
  • ependymoglia;
  • immunoreactivity;
  • GFAP;
  • vimentin;
  • reptiles;
  • Anolis

Abstract

We analyzed the distribution of intermediate filament molecular markers, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and vimentin in the brain and spinal cord of the adult brown anole lizard, Anolis sagrei. The GFAP immunoreactivity is strong and the positive structures are basically represented by fibers of different lengths and thicknesses which are arranged in a regular radial pattern throughout the central nervous system. In the brain regions that have a thicker neural wall, the radial orientation is not so evident as in the thinner areas. These fibers emerge from radial ependymoglia (tanycytes) whose cell bodies are generally GFAP-immunopositive. The glial fibers give rise to endfeet that are apposed to the subpial surface and to blood vessel walls. In the spinal cord, the optic tectum and the lateroventral regions of the mesencephalon and medulla oblongata, star-shaped astrocytes coexist with radial structures. Vimentin-immunoreactive structures are absent in the brain and spinal cord. In A. sagrei the immunohistochemical response of the astroglial intermediate filaments appears typical of a mature astroglial cell lineage, since they fundamentally express GFAP immunoreactivity. A Western-blot analysis reveals a GFAP-positive single band, common to the different nervous areas. This immunohistochemical study shows that the star-shaped astrocytes have a different distribution in saurians and while the glial pattern of A. sagrei is more evolved than in urodeles it remains immature as compared with crocodilians, avians, and mammals. This condition suggests that reptiles represent a fundamental step in the phylogenetic evolution of the vertebrate glial cells. J. Morphol. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.