NG2-glia, also known as oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), have the potential to generate new mature oligodendrocytes and thus, to contribute to tissue repair in demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS). Once activated in response to brain damage, NG2-glial cells proliferate, and they acquire a reactive phenotype and a heterogeneous appearance. Here, we set out to investigate the distribution and phenotypic diversity of NG2-glia relative to their ontogenic origin, and whether there is a clonal NG2-glial response to lesion in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) murine model of MS. As such, we performed in utero electroporation of the genomic lineage tracer, StarTrack, to follow the fate of NG2-glia derived from single progenitors and to evaluate their response to brain damage after EAE induction. We then analyzed the dispersion of the NG2-glia derived clonally from single pallial progenitors in the brain of EAE mice. In addition, we examined several morphological parameters to assess the degree of NG2-glia reactivity in clonally-related cells. Our results reveal the heterogeneity of these progenitors and their cell progeny in a scenario of autoimmune demyelination, revealing the ontogenic phenomena at play in these processes.
Keywords: NG2-glia; clonal analyses; in utero electroporation; lesioned brain; lineage; morphometric analyses; multiple sclerosis; progenitors.