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In Vivo Imaging of Glial Activation after Unilateral Labyrinthectomy in the Rat: A [18F]GE180-PET Study.

Front Neurol. 2017 Dec 11;8:665. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2017.00665. eCollection 2017.

Authors/Editors: Zwergal A, Günther L, Brendel M, Beck R, Lindner S, Xiong G, Eilles E, Unterrainer M, Albert NL, Becker-Bense S, Brandt T, Ziegler S, la Fougère C, Dieterich M, Bartenstein P.
Publication Date: 2017



The functional relevance of reactive gliosis for recovery from acute unilateral vestibulopathy is unknown. In the present study, glial activation was visualized in vivo by [18F]GE180-PET in a rat model of unilateral labyrinthectomy (UL) and compared to behavioral vestibular compensation (VC) overtime. 14 Sprague-Dawley rats underwent a UL by transtympanic injection of bupivacaine/arsenilate, 14 rats a SHAM UL (injection of normal saline). Glial activation was depicted with [18F]GE180-PET and ex vivo autoradiography at baseline and 7, 15, 30 days after UL/SHAM UL. Postural asymmetry and nystagmus were registered at 1, 2, 3, 7, 15, 30 days after UL/SHAM UL. Signs of vestibular imbalance were found only after UL, which significantly decreased until days 15 and 30. In parallel, [18F]GE180-PET and ex vivo autoradiography depicted glial activation in the ipsilesional vestibular nerve and nucleus on days 7 and 15 after UL. Correlation analysis revealed a strong negative association of [18F]GE180 uptake in the ipsilesional vestibular nucleus on day 7 with the rate of postural recovery (R = -0.90, p < 0.001), suggesting that glial activation accelerates VC. In conclusion, glial activation takes place in the ipsilesional vestibular nerve and nucleus within the first 30 days after UL in the rat and can be visualized in vivo by [18F]GE180-PET.

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