The text books all say oligodendrocytes are the last cell to arise during development. The analysis of the spatio-temporal pattern of expression of plp/dm-20 during embryonic development in both the chick and the mouse provides evidence that the induction of oligodendrocyte occurs much earlier than we thought. In fact, it seems as though these cells must arise nearly simultaneously with neurons and it is just that they do not mature until later. Furthermore, we review the experimental arguments in favor of the existence of at least two, if not more, oligodendrocyte precursor cells: one is defined by the expression of PDGFRalpha, another characterized by expression of plp/dm-20 is independent from PDGF-AA for its proliferation and survival. We then postulate the existence of a third family of yet unknown origin.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.