Comparative analysis of CNS populations in knockout mice with altered growth hormone responsiveness

Mark I Ransome, Yona Goldshmit, Perry F Bartlett, Michael J Waters, Ann M Turnley

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Recently we have shown that growth hormone (GH) inhibits neuronal differentiation and that this process is blocked by suppressor of cytokine signalling-2 (SOCS2). Here we examine several cortical and subcortical neuronal populations in GH hyper-responsive SOCS2 null (-/-) mice and GH non-responsive GH receptor null (GHR-/-) mice. While SOCS2-/- mice showed a 30 decrease in density of NeuN positive neurons in cortex compared to wildtype, GHR-/- mice showed a 25 increase even though brain size was decreased. Interneuron sub-populations were variably affected, with a slight decrease in cortical parvalbumin expressing interneurons in SOCS2-/- mice and an increase in cortical calbindin and calretinin and striatal cholinergic neuron density in GHR-/- mice. Analysis of glial cell numbers in cresyl violet or glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) stained sections of cortex showed that the neuron : glia ratio was increased in GHR-/- mice and decreased in SOCS2-/- mice. The astrocytes in GHR-/- mice appeared smaller, while they were larger in SOCS2-/- mice. Neuronal soma size also varied in the different genotypes, with smaller striatal cholinergic neurons in GHR-/- mice. While the size of layer 5 pyramidal neurons was not significantly different from wildtype, SOCS2-/- neurons were larger than GHR-/- neurons. In addition, primary dendritic length was similar in all genotypes but dendritic branching of pyramidal neurons in the cortex appeared sparser in GHR-/- and SOCS2-/- mice. These results suggest that GH, possibly regulated by SOCS2, has multiple effects on central nervous system (CNS) development and maturation, regulating the number and size of multiple neuronal and glial cell types.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2069 - 2079
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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