In the early postnatal subventricular zone (SVZ), two seemingly unrelated events occur simultaneously: a massive tangential migration of neuroblasts towards the olfactory bulb, known as the rostral migratory stream (RMS), and the outward movement of radial glia (RG) undergoing astrocytic transformation. Because of the orthogonal arrangement between these two sets of cells, little, if any, relevance has been ascribed for their possible interactions. By depositing DiI at the pial surface we have studied RG transformation within the SVZ/RMS, from birth up to the end of the first postnatal week. While still within the SVZ/RMS, RG morphology changed from simple bipolar to highly complex branched profiles, attaining their highest degree of complexity at the interface of the SVZ with the overlying white matter. At this interface cell bodies of radial glia accumulate and their processes run tangentially, surrounding the SVZ/RMS. Processes of RG surrounding the SVZ/RMS could also be observed by immunostaining for vimentin, GFAP, and nestin. In contrast, in the white matter all DiI-labeled RG presented a simple bipolar profile. These results indicate that the outward radial migration of the transforming RG does not occur uniformly. Instead, the different morphologies and cell densities that RG assume when they cross the SVZ/RMS and overlying white matter imply different migratory behaviors. Finally, our data suggest that RG provide a cellular scaffold to the early postnatal SVZ/RMS, much in the same way as astrocytes in the adult RMS.
Copyright 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.