Midkine (MK), a retinoic acid-responsive gene product, is a 13-kDa heparin-binding protein with neurotrophic activity. Previous studies demonstrated the expression of MK in embryonal and neonatal brains and its potent neurotrophic activities in vitro. Data concerning its role in the mature central nervous system, however, are still limited. We examined the changes of MK expression in the adult rat brain following transient forebrain ischemia, by Northern blot, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analyses. In the control brain, MK mRNA was expressed in the cortical and hippocampal neurons. Following the ischemia, up-regulation of MK mRNA and a corresponding increase of its protein products were found in the hippocampal CA1 subfield. The maximal expression was demonstrated on day 4 after the insult. The cells expressing MK were distributed around the depleted CA1 pyramidal cells and identified as reactive astrocytes by double immunostaining. These data suggest that MK may be an insult-induced molecule which participates in the reparative processes following neuronal injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas