Proliferation and differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells induced from rat embryonic neural precursor cells followed by flow cytometry



Previous studies have shown that a cell-intrinsic timer might determine when oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) isolated from the central nervous system (CNS) stop dividing and initiate differentiation in a defined environment. In this report, the proliferation and differentiation of OPCs induced from neural precursor cells (NPCs) were analyzed by flow cytometry combined with carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester labeling and propidium iodide staining, respectively. When OPCs were cultured in OPC-medium, more than 30% of cells were in S- and G2/M-phases, and continuously self-renewed without differentiation. After exposure to thyroid hormone, there was an obvious decrease in the fraction of cells in both S- and G2/M-phases (<10%). Furthermore, the OPCs no longer proliferated, but differentiated into oligodendrocytes. The dynamic proliferation and differentiation characteristics of OPCs induced from NPCs and analyzed by flow cytometry were similar to those of OPCs isolated from the CNS and analyzed by other methods. These studies indicated that the proliferation and differentiation of OPCs can be followed simply and rapidly by flow cytometry. © 2008 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry