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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1989 Mar 1;46(1):115-22.

Cells positive for the O4 surface antigen isolated by cell sorting are able to differentiate into astrocytes or oligodendrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, F.R.G.


Cells expressing the surface antigen O4 were isolated as pure populations from cultures of murine brain or cerebellum using fluorescence activated cell sorting. When these O4-positive cells were further cultured in the presence of fetal calf serum (FCS) many cells expressed both O4 and the astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) after 4 days of culture. Cells not exposed to FCS expressed O4, but never GFAP. GFAP-positive cells in the presence of fetal calf serum very rarely expressed the myelin associated glycoprotein (MAG) or O1, both of which are expressed on more differentiated oligodendrocytes, and never expressed O10 that is characteristic of even more mature oligodendrocytes. These results show that glial cells expressing O4, but not MAG, O1, O10 or GFAP are bipotential precursor cells able to differentiate into astrocytes or oligodendrocytes depending on the culture conditions and suggest that bipotentiality of glial precursor cells is retained up to a later developmental stage than that of the O2A progenitor cell.

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