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Mol Cell Neurosci. 1997;9(5-6):420-32.

Effects of thyroid hormone on embryonic oligodendrocyte precursor cell development in vivo and in vitro.

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MRC Developmental Neurobiology Programme, University College London, United Kingdom.


The oligodendrocyte precursor cell divides a limited number of times before terminal differentiation. The timing of differentiation depends on both intracellular mechanisms and extracellular signals, including mitogens that stimulate proliferation and signals such as thyroid hormone (TH) and retinoic acid (RA) that help trigger the cells to stop dividing and differentiate. We show here that, both in vivo and in vitro, TH is required for the normal development of rodent optic nerve oligodendrocytes, although in its absence some oligodendrocyte development still occurs, perhaps promoted by signals from axons. We also demonstrate that TH from both mother and pup plays a part in oligodendrocyte development in vivo. Finally, we show that precursors in embryonic nerve cultures differ from those in postnatal cultures in two ways: they respond much better to TH than to RA, and they respond more slowly to TH, suggesting that oligodendrocyte precursor cells mature during their early development.

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