Stavudine, an anti‑retroviral drug induces reactive astrocytes in motor cortex of albino mice

  • Agnes A. Nwakanma
  • Theresa B. Ekanem
  • Moses B. Ekong
  • Mokutima A. Eluwa
  • Eme E. Osim
  • Terkula Kpela
Keywords: Albino mice, astrocytes, motor cortex, stavudine


Objectives: Anti‑retroviral (ARV) drugs are medications used for the treatment and management of retrovirus infections. Stavudine, one of the commercially available ARVs, is a synthetic ARV agent active against the human immunodeficiency virus type 1. In this study, the effect of stavudine on reactive astrocytes on the motor cortex of albino Wistar mice was investigated. Materials and Methods: Twenty‑four albino mice weighing 30 g on the average were equally assigned into three groups, A, B and C (i.e., eight mice in each group). Group A served as the control, while Groups B and C were the experimental groups. Group B received 0.6 mg/kg of stavudine, while Group C received 1.2 mg/kg of stavudine by orogastric tubes twice a day for 21 days. No treatment was given to the control group, and all the animals received feed and water ad libitum throughout the experimental period. Results: Light microscopic study of the reactive astrocytes in the motor cortex of mice revealed few astrocytes stained black in the control group, Groups B and C revealed a significantly (P < 0.05) higher reactive astrocytes population, with Group C (P < 0.05) having higher reactive astrocytes population compared to Group B. Conclusions: These results revealed that stavudine caused hyperplasia of astrocytes in the motor cortex of albino mice, and this may affect astrocyte activity and consequently impair motor functions. The effect was dose dependent.

Key words: Albino mice, astrocytes, motor cortex, stavudine


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eISSN: 1596-2393