Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22987484
Glia 2012 Dec;60(12):2040-9
In diverse brain pathologies, astrocytes become reactive and undergo profound phenotypic changes. Connexin43 (Cx43), the main gap junction channel-forming protein in astrocytes, is one of the proteins modified in reactive astrocytes. Downregulation of Cx43 in cultured astrocytes activates c-Src, promotes proliferation, and increases the rate of glucose uptake; however, so far there have been no studies examining whether this cascade of events takes place in reactive astrocytes. In this work, we analyzed this pathway after a cortical lesion induced by a kainic acid injection. As previously described, astrocytes reacted to the lesion with an increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein and a decrease in Cx43 expression. Some of these reactive astrocytes proliferated, as estimated by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and cyclins D1 and D3 upregulation. In addition, the expression of the glucose transporter GLUT-3 and the enzyme responsible for glucose phosphorylation, Type II hexokinase (Hx-2), were induced in reactive astrocytes, suggesting an increased glucose uptake. Previous in vitro studies reported that c-Src is the link between Cx43 and glucose uptake and proliferation in astrocytes. Here, we found that c-Src activity increased in the lesioned area. c-Src activation and Cx43 downregulation preceded the peak of Hx-2 and cyclin D3 expression, suggesting that c-Src could mediate the effect of Cx43 on glucose uptake and proliferation in reactive astrocytes after an excitotoxic insult. Interestingly, we identify c-Src, GLUT-3, and Hx-2 in the signaling mechanisms involved in the reaction of astroglia to injury. Altogether these data contribute to identify new therapeutical targets to enhance astrocyte neuroprotective activities.