Cells in the early neuroepithelium differentiate and give rise to all cells in the central nervous system (CNS). The ways from a multipotent CNS stem cell to specialized neurons and glia are not fully understood. Using immunohistochemistry we found that neuroepithelial cells express the platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha (PDGFR-alpha) in the neural plate at embryonic day 8.5 and onwards in the neural tube. The protein was polarized to ventricular endfeet. Furthermore, PDGFR-alpha expression was localized to cells undergoing early neuronal development. We also found PDGFR-alpha expression in developing granule cells in the postnatal cerebellum, in Purkinje cells in the adult cerebellum and on processes of developing dorsal root ganglion cells. Previous reports mainly describe PDGFR-alpha expression in oligodendrocyte precursors and glial cells. We believe, in line with a few previous reports, that the PDGFR-alpha in addition marks a pool of undifferentiated cells, which are able to differentiate into neurons.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.