Characterization of STAT3-expressing cells in the postnatal rat brain

Laurent Gautron, Véronique De Smedt-Peyrusse, Sophie Layé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a transcription factor abundantly expressed in the postnatal brain that is involved in the differentiation of cultured astrocytes. Thus far, the cellular identity and anatomical distribution of STAT3-expressing cells in the postnatal brain is poorly known. This study identifies the cell type(s), anatomical location, and temporal distribution of STAT3-expressing cells by using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy on postnatal day 3 (P3), 10 (P10), and 21 (P21) rat brain sections. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of STAT3 on tyrosine and serine residues was analyzed at these different stages by immunoprecipitation followed by Western blot. STAT3 immunoreactivity was observed in the cytoplasm and nucleus of many maturating astrocytes positive for nestin (at P3) or positive for GFAP (at P10) distributed throughout the white and grey matter. Moreover, robust nuclear immunoreactivity was observed in brainstem motoneurons. Phosphorylation on tyrosine and serine was observed at P3 and increased at P10, which suggests an augmented activation of STAT3 at the mid-postnatal period. At P21, STAT3 immunoreactivity dramatically decreased to remain visible only in the cytoplasm of white matter astrocytes and hypothalamic and brainstem neuronal groups. Furthermore, while the phosphorylation of tyrosine residues tended to decrease, that of serine residues further increased. In summary, our study reveals a complex regulation of STAT3 phosphorylation in the postnatal brain and provides in vivo evidence of the specific expression of STAT3 in maturating astrocytes and brainstem motoneurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 2006


  • Astrocyte
  • Brain development
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuron
  • STAT3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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