Radial glia (RG) are the first glial cell type to appear in the nervous system. Their broad distribution and apparent similarity hide important brain region-specific differences that are likely to be essential for development. However, recent evidence supports the stimulating concept that in addition to their classical function as neuroblast guides, RG are neuronal precursors (Malatesta et al. Development 127:5253-5263, 2000; Miyata et al. Neuron 31:727-741, 2001; Noctor et al. Nature 409:714-720, 2001; Skogh et al. Mol Cell Neurosci 17:811-820, 2001). We propose that RG not only generate and guide newborn neurons, but could also instruct their own neuronal progeny to adopt appropriate region-specific phenotypes.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.