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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1978 Mar-Apr;37(2):103-18.

The cytogenetic basis for classifying ependymomas.


The phylogeny of ependymal cells and astrocytes can be traced to a single primitive progenitor the ependymoglia or the tanycyte, respectively. Ependymoglia cells have ependymal perikarya having astrocyte-like processes that terminate subpially in primitive glial footplates. Such cells prevail in primitive nervous systems, but they also persist regionally in the mature mammalian brain. Their fine structure has been studied in many species. An electronmicroscopic study of 8 ependymomas reveals that the neoplastic cells possess features characteristic of primitive ependymoglia; in particular they possess cell processes filled with glial filaments, terminating submesenchymally in a primitive, piston-shaped footplate. The perivascular pseudorosettes of ependymomas are the equivalents of these cell poles. The dominant phenomenon of ependymoma structure appears to be a reversion of cellular organization to the stage of primitive ependymoglia cells. On reviewing 43 ependymomas and 71 astrocytomas 11 neoplasms were found having a tissue structure reminiscent of the evolution of piloid astrocytes from ependymoglia or tanycytes, respectively. These features correspond to transitional stages seen in normal primitive brains. Tumors of this type may be characterized as a tanycytic variant of ependymomas. They appear to be relatively common in the spinal cord and present a source of confusion with piloid astrocytomas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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