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J Neurosci. 2008 Mar 5;28(10):2551-62. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5497-07.2008.

Early neuronal and glial fate restriction of embryonic neural stem cells.

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  • 1Inserm, Unité 711, 75013 Paris, France.


The question of how neurons and glial cells are generated during the development of the CNS has over time led to two alternative models: either neuroepithelial cells are capable of giving rise to neurons first and to glial cells at a later stage (switching model), or they are intrinsically committed to generate one or the other (segregating model). Using the developing diencephalon as a model and by selecting a subpopulation of ventricular cells, we analyzed both in vitro, using clonal analysis, and in vivo, using inducible Cre/loxP fate mapping, the fate of neuroepithelial and radial glial cells generated at different time points during embryonic development. We found that, during neurogenic periods [embryonic day 9.5 (E9.5) to 12.5], proteolipid protein (plp)-expressing cells were lineage-restricted neuronal precursors, but later in embryogenesis, during gliogenic periods (E13.5 to early postnatal), plp-expressing cells were lineage-restricted glial precursors. In addition, we show that glial cells forming at E13.5 arise from a new pool of neuroepithelial progenitors distinct from neuronal progenitors cells, which lends support to the segregating model.

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