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Dev Biol. 2004 Jun 1;270(1):200-13.

Glial progenitors of the neonatal subventricular zone differentiate asynchronously, leading to spatial dispersion of glial clones and to the persistence of immature glia in the adult mammalian CNS.

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Department of Pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The subventricular zone (SVZ) of the developing mammalian forebrain gives rise to astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the neocortex and white matter, and neurons in the olfactory bulb in perinatal life. We have examined the developmental fates and spatial distributions of the descendants of single SVZ cells by infecting them in vivo at postnatal day 0-1 (P0-1) with a retroviral "library". In most cases, individual SVZ cells gave rise to either oligodendrocytes or astrocytes, but some generated both types of glia. Members of glial clones can disperse widely through the gray and white matter. Progenitors continued to divide after stopping migration, generating clusters of related cells. However, the progeny of a single SVZ cell does not differentiate synchronously: individual clones contained both mature and less mature glia after short or long intervals. For example, progenitors that settled in the white matter generated three types of clonal oligodendrocyte clusters: those composed of only myelinating oligodendrocytes, of both myelinating oligodendrocytes and non-myelinating oligodendrocytes, or of only non-myelinating cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage. Thus, some progenitors do not fully differentiate, but remain immature and may continue to cycle well into adult life.

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