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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1989 Sep 1;49(1):33-49.

Bipotential glial progenitors are targets of neuronal cell line-derived growth factors.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology-Toxicology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 77550.


The growth-promoting activity of conditioned medium (CM) from the B104 CNS neuronal cell line was studied in glial cultures from neonatal rat brain. This CM at 33% (v/v; 8-12 micrograms protein/ml) produced large numbers of oligodendrocytes and multipolar glial progenitors after an 8 to 12-day treatment. At all times studied, cells of the oligodendrocyte/type 2 astrocyte (O-2A) lineage were increased due to CM-treatment, while type 1 astrocytes, microglia, and other cell types were not. Furthermore, we observed a large decrease in the percentage of oligodendrocytes in the O-2A lineage, suggesting a delay in differentiation of the progenitors. By 8 days in vitro (DIV), dose-dependent increases in numbers of galactocerebroside (GalC)-positive cells (oligodendrocytes) and A2B5-positive cells (immature oligodendrocytes and glial progenitors) occurred. In contrast, at 4 DIV only A2B5-positive cells were increased in a dose-dependent manner. The latter cells can differentiate primarily into oligodendrocytes or type 2 astrocytes depending on the culture conditions. Complement lysis studies confirmed that the A2B5-positive, but not the GalC-positive, population at 4 DIV was required for increases in oligodendrocytes to occur by 8 DIV. The [3H]thymidine labeling index of the A2B5-positive population also increased in response to CM in a dose-dependent manner, but the GalC-positive labeling index showed only small increases at 4 DIV and none at later times. Our results suggest that the delayed differentiation coupled with the selective stimulation of the bipotential glial progenitors produces the large increases in numbers of oligodendrocytes observed at 8-12 DIV.

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