The age-related changes, of the oligodendrocytes in rat subcortical white matter, were investigated in this study. The oligodendrocytes in subcortical white matter were labeled with anti-2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase antibody (anti-CNPase antibody, a specific marker of oligodendrocytes). The total number of CNPase(+) cells was estimated with an unbiased stereological technique, the optical fractionator. In this study, we found that the total number of CNPase(+) cells in the young male rats and aged male rats was 14.4 ± 1.2 × 10(6) and 9.0 ± 1.0 × 10(6) , respectively. The total number of the CNPase(+) cells in the subcortical white matter of aged rats was significantly decreased by 37.5% when compared to young male rats. This study demonstrated that there was an aged-related decrease of the oligodendrocytes in subcortical white matter.
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