Sensorimotor cortex ablation induces time-dependent response of ACTH cells in adult rats: Behavioral, immunohistomorphometric and hormonal study
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a serious event with far reaching complications, including pituitary dysfunction. Pars distalis corticotropes (ACTH cells), that represent the active module of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, seem to be affected as well. Since pituitary failure after TBI has been associated with neurobehavioral impairments the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of TBI on recovery of motor functions, morphology and secretory activity of ACTH cells in the pituitary of adult rats. Wistar male rats, initially exposed to sensorimotor cortex ablation (SCA), were sacrificed at the 2nd, 7th, 14th and 30th days post-surgery (dps). A beam walking test was used to evaluate the recovery of motor functions. Pituitary glands and blood were collected for morphological and hormonal analyses. During the first two weeks post-injury increased recovery of locomotor function was detected, reaching almost the control value at day 30. SCA induces significant increase of pituitary weights compared to their time-matched controls. The volume of ACTH-immunopositive cells was reduced at the 7th dps, while at the 14th dps their volume was enlarged, in comparison to corresponding sham controls. Volume density of ACTH cells was increased only at 14th dps, while at day 30 this increase was insignificant. The plasma level of ACTH transiently increased after the injury. The most pronounced changes were observed at the 7th and 14th dps, and were followed by decrease toward control levels at the 30th dps. Thus, temporal changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis after traumatic brain injury appear to correlate with the recovery process. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.