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Stereological quantification of cellular populations in the prefrontal cortex of rats submitted to fetal and early postnatal protein malnutrition

Grant number: 11/21509-3
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: March 01, 2012 - February 28, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology - Anatomy
Principal Investigator:Roelf Justino Cruz-Rizzolo
Grantee:Roelf Justino Cruz-Rizzolo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Odontologia (FOA). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araçatuba. Araçatuba , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Edilson Ervolino ; Leila Maria Guissoni Campos ; Luciana Pinato


Fetal and early postnatal malnutrition (perinatal protein malnutrition, PPM) is considered a serious public health concern, affecting a significant portion of the world's population. Epidemiological studies indicate that protein perinatal deprivation may represent risk factors for the late onset of some mental and psychiatric disorders, fundamentally schizophrenia, condition where the prefrontal cortex plays a fundamental role. In view of this correlation between these neuropsychiatric conditions and PPM, it remains to be seen if some of the structural changes found mainly in the prefrontal cortex of patients in these situations may be reproduced in experimental models. Thus, in the present study, using a model of rat PPM we will quantify some cellular populations in the young rat prefrontal cortex, using unbiased stereological analysis. This quantification shall include the global neuronal population revealed by NeuN (neuron-specific nuclear protein) immunohistochemistry; neuronal populations that express calcium binding proteins, such as parvalbumin, calbindin and calretinin, which represent more than 90% of all the GABAergic neurons of the cerebral cortex, allowing the analyses of the possible changes in the circuits of this neurotransmitter; neurons that expressing reelin, a glycoprotein synthesized by a subgroup of GABAergic neurons, that plays an important role during neuronal migration and sinaptogenesis, and whose quantitative change is associated with cognitive deficits and in PPM experimental models; and the astrocytic population in the mPfC using GFAP (glial fibrillary acid protein) immunohistochemistry. (AU)

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