Abstract: We examined correlations among growth kinetics, cell shape, and cytoskeletal protein content in rat astrocytes grown in primary culture. Cell suspensions from brains of newborn rats were seeded at densities from 0.2 to 3 × 105/cm2. At initial densities above 1 × 105 the population increased to reach confluency by 10–12 days, after which cell number remained stable for many weeks. At low initial densities, 0.2–0.4 × 105/cm2, cells did not increase in number. Final density increased with increasing plating densities. High‐density cells had small perikarya and several long cytoplasmic processes; low‐density cells appeared flat and polygonal. All cultures were almost entirely astrocytic, as judged by immunofluorescent staining with antiserum against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Cytoskeletal proteins were analyzed by gel electrophoresis after extraction from cells with nonionic detergent. Relative amounts of the proteins differed, in that low‐density cells contained large amounts of cytoskeletal actin relative to the intermediate filament (IF) proteins vimentin and GFAP, whereas high‐density cells contained relatively less actin and more IF proteins. Such differences in cytoskeletal proteins between the high‐ and low‐density cultures were mirrored in the relative rates of synthesis of the cytoskeletal proteins. In the low‐density cells amino acid incorporation into cytoskeletal‐associated actin was more active than that into the IFs, whereas in the high‐density cells higher rates of IF protein synthesis were observed.
Journal of Neurochemistry – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1984
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