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Glia. 2009 Aug 1;57(10):1115-29. doi: 10.1002/glia.20835.

Developmental and post-injury cortical gliogenesis: a genetic fate-mapping study with Nestin-CreER mice.

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Division of Developmental Biology, Division of Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.


The primary sources of cortical gliogenesis, either during development or after adult brain injury, remain uncertain. We previously generated Nestin-CreER mice to fate-map the progeny of radial glial cells (RG), a source of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the nervous system. Here, we show that Nestin-CreER mice label another population of glial progenitors, namely the perinatal subventricular zone (SVZ) glioblasts, if they are crossed with stop-floxed EGFP mice and receive tamoxifen in late embryogenesis (E16-E18). Quantification showed E18 tamoxifen-induction labeled more perinatal SVZ glioblasts than RG and transitional RG combined in the newborn brain (54% vs. 22%). Time-lapse microscopy showed SVZ-glioblasts underwent complex metamorphosis and often-reciprocal transformation into transitional RG. Surprisingly, the E10-dosed RG progenitors produced astrocytes, but no oligodendrocytes, whereas E18-induction fate-mapped both astrocytes and NG2+ oligodendrocyte precursors in the postnatal brain. These results suggest that cortical oligodendrocytes mostly derive from perinatal SVZ glioblast progenitors. Further, by combining genetic fate-mapping and BrdU-labeling, we showed that cortical astrocytes cease proliferation soon after birth (<P10) and only undergo nonproliferative gliosis (i.e., increased GFAP expression without cell-division) after stab-wound injury in adult brains. By contrast, 9.7% of cortical NG2+ progenitors remained mitotic at P29, and the ratio rose to 13.8% after stab-wound injury. Together, these results suggest NG2+ progenitors, rather than GFAP+ astrocytes, are the primary source of proliferative gliosis after adult brain injury.

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