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Effects of neonatal transection on glial cell development in the rat optic nerve: evidence that the oligodendrocyte-type 2 astrocyte cell lineage depends on axons for its survival

, : Effects of neonatal transection on glial cell development in the rat optic nerve: evidence that the oligodendrocyte-type 2 astrocyte cell lineage depends on axons for its survival. Journal of Neurocytology 13(6): 961-974

We have previously provided evidence that the rat optic nerve contains three types of macroglial cells that develop as two distinct lineages: one lineage comprises type 1 astrocytes, which develop before birth, while the other comprises oligodendrocytes and type 2 astrocytes, which develop after birth from a common, bipotential glial progenitor cell. In the present study we have examined the influence of axons on the development of these two glial cell lineages by cutting the optic nerve at birth so that the retinal ganglion cell axons in the nerve degenerate. Using antibodies to distinguish the different types of glial cells in suspensions and semithin frozen sections of cut and uncut optic nerves, we show that neonatal transection results in a striking decrease in the total number of oligodendrocytes, type 2 astrocytes and their progenitor cells but has much less effect on the number of type 1 astrocytes. Since the [3H]thymidine labelling indices of oligodendrocytes and their progenitor cells were not significantly decreased in cut nerves, our results suggest that the progenitor cells and/or their progeny die in large numbers following neonatal nerve transection. We conclude that axons are required for the survival of cells of the oligodendrocyte-type 2 astrocyte lineage, at least during postnatal development.


PMID: 6534978

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