Analysis of the cell-cell interactions that control type-2 astrocyte development in vitro

Neuron. 1990 Apr;4(4):525-34. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(90)90110-2.


Oligodendrocytes and type-2 astrocytes develop sequentially from O-2A progenitor cells in the rat CNS. We have reproduced this sequential development in a simplified, serum-free in vitro system: in cultures of newborn optic nerve cells treated with platelet-derived growth factor to maintain O-2A progenitor cell proliferation, progenitor cells differentiate into oligodendrocytes during the first week in vitro and into type-2 astrocytes during the second week. Thus all of the signals needed for type-2 astrocyte development are made by serum-free optic nerve cultures, indicating that neurons are not required. By manipulating the cellular composition of the cultures, we provide evidence that type-2 astrocyte development does not depend on oligodendrocytes, but instead requires non-O-2A lineage cells, which are also responsible for timing this development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Astrocytes / cytology*
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Culture Media
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Optic Nerve / cytology
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Culture Media
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors