SNAP-25 (synaptosomal-associated protein of mol. wt 25,000) is an essential component for neurotransmitter release, and its expression has been related to the plastic responses that follow CNS injury. In the present study, transient induction of SNAP-25 in selected brain areas is shown by immunohistochemistry at short times after a single intraperitoneal injection of kainate at convulsant doses. Six hours after kainate injection, SNAP-25 immunoreactivity was noticed in the perikarya of certain neurons of the perirhinal and lateral cortices, polymorphic layer of the dentate gyms, CA3 pyramidal area of the bippocampus, and thalamus. In the same areas, a strong increase in SNAP-25 immunorectivity was detected at 12 and 24 h after kainate injection in cell bodies and fibers. Four days after kainate administration, the immunostaining pattern was similar to that observed in control animals. Intraperitoneal injection of cycloheximide blocked the expression of SNAP- 25, thus suggesting de novo SNAP-25 protein synthesis following kainate administration. Kainate-dependent induction of SNAP-25a messenger RNA synthesis was observed by in situ hybridization in the mentioned brain areas. Heat shock protein of mol. wt 72,000 (HSP70/72) is a chaperone whose expression is induced early under stress conditions. Its expression and distribution were compared to that of SNAP-25 after the excitotoxic insult. Brain areas overexpressing SNAP-25 and HSP70/72 overlapped. In addition, partial colocalization of both antigens was observed by double-labeling immunohistochemistry. These results provide evidence of an involvement of SNAP-25 in the reactive response that follows kainate administration, and support the role of this protein in the plastic events that take place after kainate excitotoxicity.
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