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J Neurocytol. 2002 Jul-Aug;31(6-7):457-67.

Cytology and lineage of NG2-positive glia.

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Neural Damage and Repair, Centre for Neuroscience Research, Hodgkin Building, GKT School of Biomedical Sciences, Guy's Campus, London Bridge, London SE1 1UL, UK.


We present evidence that NG2+ glia are an integral part of an oligodendrocyte/synantocyte (OS) lineage stream the progenitors of which begin to produce both glial phenotypes at about birth. The NG2 CSPG is differentially distributed within the OS lineage, being expressed in progenitors and synantocytes but not in oligodendrocytes. All cells in the OS lineage, except the primordial stem cells, express O4. The oligodendrocyte line reacts with CD9, but synantocytes are CD9-. Nonetheless, synantocytes are morphologically complex and specialised glia which contact axolemma in myelinated fibres at nodes of Ranvier and synaptic terminals, and form >99% of all NG2+ glia in the adult CNS. Thus, the other NG2+ phenotype, the adult oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (AOPC), constitutes a small population of <1% of all NG2+ glia in the mature CNS. AOPC are a heterogeneous set of cells probably originating from multiple sources which, by definition, produce oligodendrocytes in the adult to replace loss after trauma, demyelination and normal 'wear and tear'. The definitive functions of synantocytes remain undefined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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