Radial glia and cell debris removal during lesion-regeneration of the lizard medial cortex

Histol Histopathol. 1999 Jan;14(1):89-101. doi: 10.14670/HH-14.89.


Intraperitoneal injection of the neurotoxin 3-acetylpyridine (3AP) induces a rapid degeneration of the medial cerebral cortex (lizard fascia dentata) granular layer and of its zinc enriched axonal projection (lizard mossy fibres). After 6-8 weeks post-lesion the cell debris have been removed and the granular layer is repopulated by neurons generated in the subjacent ependyma. Both processes, neuron incorporation and debris removal, seem to be crucial for successful regeneration. Scavenging processes in the lesioned mammalian CNS are usually carried out by microglia and/or astrocytes. In the lizard cerebral cortex there are no free astrocytes and the only glial fibrillary acid (GFAP) immunoreactive cells are radial glia-ependymocytes, similar to those present during mammalian CNS development. Ependymocytes, in addition to their help in vertical migrations of just generated immature neurons, built the cortical glial scaffold, insulate the blood capillaries, form the outer glial limiting membrane, thus playing an essential role in the lizard cortical blood-brain barrier. In this study, by means of GFAP-immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, we have shown that radial glial cells participate actively in the removal/phagocytosis of cellular debris generated in the lesion process: mainly degenerated synapses, but interestingly, also some neuronal somata. Cell debris taken up by ependymocyte lateral processes seem to be progressively transported to either distal (pial) or proximal (ventricular) poles of the cell, where they result in lipofuscin accumulations. The hypothetical subsequent exchange of debris from ependymoglia by microglia/macrophages and Kolmer cells is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / ultrastructure
  • Dentate Gyrus / pathology
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / ultrastructure
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lizards
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neurotoxins / administration & dosage
  • Neurotoxins / pharmacology
  • Pyridines / administration & dosage
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Regeneration*
  • Time Factors


  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Neurotoxins
  • Pyridines
  • 3-acetylpyridine