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Glia. 2002 Oct;40(1):25-43.

Oligodendrocyte and astrocyte development in rodents: an in situ and immunohistological analysis during embryonic development.

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Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


Lineally related multipotent neuroepithelial cells (NEP), neuronal restricted precursors (NRP), and glial restricted precursors (GRP) have been identified in the spinal cord. To determine the sequence of differentiation and identify lineage and stage-specific markers, we have examined the spatiotemporal expression of established glial markers during rodent embryonic development and within fetal cell culture. In this report, we show that proliferating stem cells in the developing neural tube do not express any glial markers at E10.5. By E11, however, glial precursors have begun to differentiate and at least two regions of the ventral neural tube containing glial precursor cells can be distinguished, an Nkx2.2/Neurogenin 3 (Ngn3) domain and a platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRalpha)/Olig2/Sox10 domain. Radial glia, as identified by RC1 immunoreactivity, develop in concert with other glial precursors and can be distinguished by their morphology, spatial distribution, and antigen expression. Astrocytes as assessed by glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoreactivity are first detected at E16. A novel dorsal domain of CD44 immunoreactivity that can be distinguished from the more ventral glial precursor domains can be detected as early as E13.5.

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