The effect of aging on the hippocampal formation of the male Brown Norway rat was studied by immunohistochemistry and measurements of the immunoreactive hippocampal cells using stereological techniques. The total estimated number of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) immunoreactive neurons of the CA1-CA2 area did not differ in the 3- and the 36-month-old rat. However, the intensity of the GR immunoreactivity was decreased in the aged animals. A gradual decrease of the immunoreactivity for the mineralocorticoid receptor was also observed in the CA1-CA2 area. In the stratum oriens and the stratum radiatum of the CA1-CA2 area the immunoreactivity for basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) present in the glia was found to be reduced [20,000 ± 2100 (n = 6)] in the 36-month-old rat vs the 3-month-old rat [28,500 ± 4500 (n = 4) (*P = 0.05)]. However, there was no difference in the number of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactive cells of this area in these two age groups. The present findings give evidence that in the Brown Norway rat there is no loss of the neuronal population containing glucocorticoid receptors of the CA1-CA2 area during aging but suggest that aging is characterized by deficits of glially derived growth factors, such as bFGF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology