Oligodendrocyte and astrocyte development in rodents: an in situ and immunohistological analysis during embryonic development

Glia. 2002 Oct;40(1):25-43. doi: 10.1002/glia.10111.


Lineally related multipotent neuroepithelial cells (NEP), neuronal restricted precursors (NRP), and glial restricted precursors (GRP) have been identified in the spinal cord. To determine the sequence of differentiation and identify lineage and stage-specific markers, we have examined the spatiotemporal expression of established glial markers during rodent embryonic development and within fetal cell culture. In this report, we show that proliferating stem cells in the developing neural tube do not express any glial markers at E10.5. By E11, however, glial precursors have begun to differentiate and at least two regions of the ventral neural tube containing glial precursor cells can be distinguished, an Nkx2.2/Neurogenin 3 (Ngn3) domain and a platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRalpha)/Olig2/Sox10 domain. Radial glia, as identified by RC1 immunoreactivity, develop in concert with other glial precursors and can be distinguished by their morphology, spatial distribution, and antigen expression. Astrocytes as assessed by glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoreactivity are first detected at E16. A novel dorsal domain of CD44 immunoreactivity that can be distinguished from the more ventral glial precursor domains can be detected as early as E13.5.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / embryology*
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Fetus
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / genetics
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / genetics
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / genetics
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / genetics
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / metabolism
  • SOXE Transcription Factors
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Zebrafish Proteins


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurog3 protein, rat
  • Nkx2.2 protein
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SOXE Transcription Factors
  • Sox10 protein, rat
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha