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Glia. 2005 Jun;50(4):321-8.

Identification of oligodendrocytes in experimental disease models.

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Department of Neurology, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110-1193, USA.


The ability to identify oligodendrocytes in culture, in fixed tissue, and in vivo using unique markers is a requisite step to understanding their responses in any damage, recovery, or developmental process. Their nuclei are readily seen in histological preparations of healthy white and gray matter, and their cell bodies can be reliably identified with a variety of immunocytochemical markers. However, there is little consensus regarding optimal methods to assess oligodendrocyte survival or morphology under experimental injury conditions. We review common approaches for histological and immunocytochemical identification of these cells. Transgenic and viral methods for cell type-selective transfer of genes encoding fluorescent proteins offer promising new approaches for manipulating and visualizing oligodendrocytes in models of health and disease.

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