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Ultrastructural changes in nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity in the brain of rats subjected to perinatal asphyxia: neuroprotective effects of cold treatment

, : Ultrastructural changes in nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity in the brain of rats subjected to perinatal asphyxia: neuroprotective effects of cold treatment. Brain Research 775(1-2): 11-23

Striatal and cortical neurons containing nitric oxide synthase (NOS) were studied in adult rats subjected to different periods of perinatal asphyxia (PA) using immunohistochemistry at both light microscopy (LM) and electron microscopy (EM). Another group was subjected to PA + hypothermia to study its neuroprotective effect. Quantitative image analysis was performed on the striatum and neocortex in order to count the number of immunoreactive neurons and to compare the pattern of staining between the different groups. Six-month-old rats that suffered subsevere and severe PA demonstrated, at LM, cytomegaly of the striatal and neocortical neurons containing NOS. Control and hypothermic neurons were more weakly immunostained than PA neurons. Subsevere and severe asphyctic rats showed an important neuronal loss that was reduced by hypothermic treatment. The PA group disclosed, at EM, dense electronic bodies distributed in terminals surrounding synaptic vesicles and in dendrites. Non-NOS-containing neurons showed signs of degeneration, such as dark cytoplasm and shrunken nuclei. Surrounding the blood vessels, we observed a clear edema. The immunolabeling in hypothermic rats resembled that observed in controls. These data suggest that subsevere and severe PA induces chronic changes in the neuronal content of NOS in the striatum and neocortex. Degeneration observed in neurons surrounding cytomegalic NOS-containing cells may be due to the excess of NO in their environment. Moreover, the chronic alterations produced by PA seem to be prevented by hypothermia.


PMID: 9439823

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