Radial glial cells play a significant role in the repair of spinal cord injuries as they exert critical role in the neurogenesis and act as a scaffold for neuronal migration. Our previous study showed that mature astrocytes of spinal cord can undergo a de-differentiation process and further transform into pluripotential neural precursors; the occurrence of these complex events arise directly from the induction of diffusible factors released from scratch-insulted astrocytes. However, it is unclear whether astrocytes can also undergo rejuvenation to revert to a radial glial progenitor phenotype after the induction of scratch-insulted astrocytes conditioned medium (ACM). Furthermore, the mechanism of astrocyte de-differentiation to the progenitor cells is still unclear. Here we demonstrate that upon treating mature astrocytes with ACM for 10 days, the astrocytes exhibit progressive morphological and functional conversion to radial glial cells. These changes include the appearance of radial glial progenitor cells, changes in the immunophenotypical profiles, characterized by the co-expression of nestin, paired homeobox protein (Pax6) and RC2 as well as enhanced capability of multipotential differentiation. Concomitantly, ErbB2 protein level was progressively up-regulated. Thereby these results provide a potential mechanism by which ACM could induce mature astrocytes to regain the profile of radial glial progenitors due to activating the ErbB2 signaling pathways.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.