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Neuron. 1990 Apr;4(4):507-24.

Ion channel expression by white matter glia: the O-2A glial progenitor cell.

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  • 1Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


We describe electrophysiological properties of the O-2A glial progenitor cell in a new serum-free culture system. O-2A progenitors have many properties characteristic of neurons: they have glutamate-activated ion channels, express the neuronal form of the sodium channel, fire single regenerative potentials, and synthesize the neurotransmitter GABA by an alternative synthetic pathway. Nearly identical properties were observed in acutely isolated O-2A progenitors, indicating that this phenotype is not an artifact of culture. The O-2A did not express a simple subset of channel types found in its descendant cells, the type-2 astrocyte and oligodendrocyte, studied in the same culture system. During development, these electrophysiological properties may contribute to O-2A function in vivo.

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