Developmental appearance, antigenic profile, and proliferation of glial cells of the human embryonic spinal cord: an immunocytochemical study using dissociated cultured cells

F AloisiG Levi


We have investigated the time of appearance of the earliest differentiating glial cell types of human spinal cord using a panel of antigenic markers to identify them in cultures from 6- to 9-week-old human embryos. Immunolabeling performed at 14 h in vitro with the O4 mAb, an early oligodendrocyte marker, showed the presence of oligodendrocytes during the 7th week of age. At 8 weeks only a few of the O4+ cells expressed galactocerebroside (GalC), a marker of more differentiated oligodendrocytes. All the O4+ and GalC+ cells were vimentin+ and some of the GalC+ cells were A2B5+, GD3+ and SSEA-1+. During the first week in vitro many of the O4+ cells exhibiting a more immature, bi- or tri-polar morphology incorporated [3H]thymidine into their nuclei. Cells expressing the astrocyte-specific marker GFAP could be first observed at 8 weeks; almost all of these GFAP+ cells, which should correspond to radial glia on the basis of the current literature, were vimentin+, A2B5+, GD3+, and SSEA-1+. At 2 days in vitro incorporation of [3H]thymidine could be shown in a small fraction of these cells. The finding that radial glia and oligodendrocytes expressed similar antigenic features and the additional observation that a small, but consistent ...Continue Reading


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