Facial nerve axotomy in aged and young adult rats: Analysis of the glial response

Sean D. Hurley, Paul D. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


With increasing age, there is a trend towards greater morbidity and injury extent with brain injury. Because several reports have suggested that microglia and astrocytes have an exacerbated response to brain injury in the aged, we set out to explore glial responses to facial nerve axotomy. This model was chosen because the glial responses are well-characterized in young rats and there is no perturbation of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Immunohistochemistry was performed for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), leukocyte common antigen, type 3 complement receptor, and major histocompatability complex classes I and II. Quantitative analysis showed that age does not affect the glial response to axotomy in the lesioned facial nucleus; however, an aging-related contralateral effect with enhanced GFAP-labeling was observed. Interestingly, despite a lack of infiltrating neutrophils, a T cell influx was observed in both young and aged rats. Overall, these results suggest that neutrophil extravasion and BBB breakdown are underappreciated with regards to aging and injury exacerbation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-518
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocytes
  • Microglia
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Facial nerve axotomy in aged and young adult rats: Analysis of the glial response'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this