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Decreased GFAP-mRNA expression in spinal cord of cobalamin-deficient rats.

We have demonstrated previously that chronic vitamin B12 [cobalamin (Cbl)] deficiency preferentially affects glial cells in the rat central nervous system (CNS) and severely affects peripheral glial cells independently of and concomitantly with the central neuropathy. In this study, we determined the mRNA levels for myelin basic protein (MBP) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in different CNS areas of rats made Cbl-deficient by total gastrectomy, as well as the mRNA levels for glycoprotein Po and peripheral myelin protein (PMP)22 in the sciatic nerve. GFAP-mRNA levels were significantly decreased in the spinal cord (SC) and hypothalamus, but not in the cortex, hippocampus, or striatum of totally gastrectomized (TGX) rats. No differences in GFAP protein levels were found in the SC and hypothalamus of the TGX rats treated or not with Cbl. MBP-mRNA levels were significantly decreased only in the hypothalamus, and the levels of mRNA for both glial markers returned to normal with Cbl replacement therapy. The levels of mRNA for the various myelin proteins in the sciatic nerve were not modified by Cbl deficiency. These results demonstrate that: a) the neurotrophic action of Cbl in rat CNS occurs in a zonal manner; and b) Cbl deficiency does not affect myelin synthesis (with the sole exception of the hypothalamus).

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