NG2 and Olig2 expression provides evidence for phenotypic deregulation of cultured central nervous system and peripheral nervous system neural precursor cells

Stem Cells. 2007 Feb;25(2):340-53. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2005-0556. Epub 2006 Oct 19.


Neural stem cells cultured with fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2)/epidermal growth factor (EGF) generate clonal expansions called neurospheres (NS), which are widely used for therapy in animal models. However, their cellular composition is still poorly defined. Here, we report that NS derived from several embryonic and adult central nervous system (CNS) regions are composed mainly of remarkable cells coexpressing radial glia markers (BLBP, RC2, GLAST), oligodendrogenic/neurogenic factors (Mash1, Olig2, Nkx2.2), and markers that in vivo are typical of the oligodendrocyte lineage (NG2, A2B5, PDGFR-alpha). On NS differentiation, the latter remain mostly expressed in neurons, together with Olig2 and Mash1. Using cytometry, we show that in growing NS the small population of multipotential self-renewing NS-forming cells are A2B5(+) and NG2(+). Additionally, we demonstrate that these NS-forming cells in the embryonic spinal cord were initially NG2(-) and rapidly acquired NG2 in vitro. NG2 and Olig2 were found to be rapidly induced by cell culture conditions in spinal cord neural precursor cells. Olig2 expression was also induced in astrocytes and embryonic peripheral nervous system (PNS) cells in culture after EGF/FGF treatment. These data provide new evidence for profound phenotypic modifications in CNS and PNS neural precursor cells induced by culture conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / metabolism*
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / cytology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Gangliosides / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.2
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2
  • Peripheral Nervous System / cytology*
  • Phenotype*
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / genetics
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / metabolism
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / embryology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Antigens
  • Ascl1 protein, mouse
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Gangliosides
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Homeobox Protein Nkx-2.2
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nkx2-2 protein, mouse
  • Olig2 protein, mouse
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2
  • Proteoglycans
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Sox9 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4
  • ganglioside A2B5
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha