Fos-related Antigens are involved in the Transcriptional Responses of Locus Coeruleus Neurons to Altered Gravitational Fields in Rats
Authors: Pompeiano M.; D'Ascanio P.; Centini C.; Pompeiano O.; Cirelli C.; Tononi G.
Source: Acta Oto-Laryngologica, Volume 121, Supplement 545, 2 July 2001 , pp. 127-132(6)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:Locus coeruleus (LC) neurons, which have widespread projections to the whole brain, respond to natural stimulation of macular receptors. Using immunocytochemistry we investigated whether rats exposed to altered gravitational fields showed changes in Fos and Fos-related antigen (FRA) protein levels in the LC. Fos protein is induced very rapidly and returns to basal levels within hours after stimulation, while FRAs persist for days or weeks after induction. Adult male albino rats (Fisher 344) were sacrificed at different time points during a space flight (NASA Neurolab Mission, STS-90) and the numbers of Fos- and FRA-positive cells in the LC were counted and compared to those in ground-based control rats. No significant changes in Fos protein expression were detected in the LC under different space flight conditions. In contrast, the number of FRA-positive cells increased on average to 167% of that of the controls at FD2, i.e. when gravity increased from 1 to 3g during the launch before reaching about 0g. FRA-labeled neurons then decreased to 46% of control values at FD14, i.e. after adaptation to 0g, but increased again to 317% of control values at R + 1, when the animals were exposed to an increase in gravitational force from 0 to 1.5-1.8g before reaching 1g during landing. The number of labeled cells was 193% of the control values at R + 13, i.e. after readaptation to 1g. Thus gravitational force appears to be very effective in inducing a long-term increase in FRA protein expression in the LC. Because activity in the noradrenergic LC neurons may increase Fos expression in several target structures, we postulate that the long-lasting induction of FRAs in the LC at FD2, and more prominently at R + 1, may contribute to the long-term molecular changes which probably occur in the brain during adaptation to 0g and readaptation to 1g.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2001-07-02