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Brain Res. 2016 May 1;1638(Pt B):129-137. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.09.012. Epub 2015 Sep 24.

The heterogeneous nature of NG2-glia.

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Physiological Genomics, Biomedical Center, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich 80336, Germany.
Physiological Genomics, Biomedical Center, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich 80336, Germany; Institute for Stem Cell Research, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, Neuherberg 85764, Germany; SYNERGY, Excellence Cluster of Systemic Neurology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich 81377, Germany. Electronic address:


In the central nervous system, NG2-glia are the cells responsible for the generation of mature oligodendrocytes during development and adulthood. Some studies could show that NG2-glia can give origin also to astrocytes and neurons, a property that makes them similar to neural stem cells. Beside their important role as progenitors, NG2-glia are believed also to have more functions due to their unique interaction with neurons through synapses. It is however not clear whether these features are common to all NG2-glia or different subpopulations of NG2-glia devoted to different functions exist. Therefore the aim of this review is to highlight the state of the art on NG2-glia heterogeneity from development to adulthood and in different brain areas, and discuss the impact of it on our understanding of the glial neurobiology. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI:NG2-glia(Invited only).


Developmental stages; Differentiation; Heterogeneity; Proliferation; Regional differences

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