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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1992 Jun 19;67(2):257-63.

Carbonic anhydrase in distinct precursors of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the forebrains of neonatal and young rats.

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Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461.


Carbonic anhydrase is present in oligodendrocytes and astrocytes in the mature rat brain. Whereas carbonic anhydrase-positive oligodendrocyte precursors had been identified during the first postnatal week, no information was available about the earliest occurrence of carbonic anhydrase in the astrocytic cell line, nor had carbonic anhydrase been detected in astrocytes in neonatal rat brains. Beginning on the first postnatal day, rat brains were double immunostained with anti-carbonic anhydrase II and respective 'markers' for immature and mature astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. During the first postnatal week there were intensely carbonic anhydrase-positive cells which were ovoid or had broad processes. On the basis of their shapes and antigen contents these were considered to be precursors of oligodendrocytes. Beginning on the first postnatal day carbonic anhydrase II was also observed in some vimentin-positive radial glia and in other vimentin-positive cells that differed in their appearance from the immature oligodendrocytes. The vimentin-positive, carbonic anhydrase-positive cells were less smooth-surfaced, and had much finer processes, than the oligodendrocyte precursors. By the third postnatal day there appeared carbonic anhydrase-positive, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive cells that resembled the vimentin-positive cells. It is concluded that the latter are immature astrocytes and that carbonic anhydrase is in distinct precursors of oligodendrocytes and astrocytes as early as the first postnatal day.

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