Monitoring gap junctional communication in astrocytes from acute adult mouse brain slices using the gap-FRAP technique

Chenju Yi 1 Jérémy Theillon 1 Annette Koulakoff 1 Hugues Berry 2, 3 Christian Giaume 1
2 BEAGLE - Artificial Evolution and Computational Biology
LBBE - Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive - UMR 5558, Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, LIRIS - Laboratoire d'InfoRmatique en Image et Systèmes d'information
Abstract : Intercellular communication through gap junction channels plays a key role in cellular homeostasis and in synchronizing physiological functions, a feature that is modified in number of pathological situations. In the brain, astrocytes are the cell population that expresses the highest amount of gap junction proteins, named connexins. Several techniques have been used to assess the level of gap junctional communication in astrocytes, but so far they remain very difficult to apply in adult brain tissue. Here, using specific loading of astrocytes with sulforhodamine 101, we adapted the gap-FRAP (Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching) to acute hippocampal slices from 9 month-old adult mice. We show that gap junctional communication monitored in astrocytes with this technique was inhibited either by pharmacological treatment with a gap junctional blocker or in mice lacking the two main astroglial connexins, while a partial inhibition was measured when only one connexin was knocked-out. We validate this approach using a mathematical model of sulforhodamine 101 diffusion in an elementary astroglial network and a quantitative analysis of the exponential fits to the fluorescence recovery curves. Consequently, we consider that the adaptation of the gap-FRAP technique to acute brain slices from adult mice provides an easy going and valuable approach that allows overpassing this age-dependent obstacle and will facilitate the investigation of gap junctional communication in adult healthy or pathological brain.
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Chenju Yi, Jérémy Theillon, Annette Koulakoff, Hugues Berry, Christian Giaume. Monitoring gap junctional communication in astrocytes from acute adult mouse brain slices using the gap-FRAP technique. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Elsevier, 2018, 303, pp.103-113. ⟨10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.03.005⟩. ⟨hal-01734652⟩

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