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Keywords:

  • NG2-expressing progenitors;
  • calcium-binding protein;
  • development;
  • CNP gene;
  • transgenic mice

Abstract

The analysis of oligodendrocyte (OL) lineage development has been facilitated by the immunocytochemical characterization of OL-specific antigens and definition of the phenotypes sequentially acquired by differentiating OLs. The purpose of the present study was to address an enduring discrepancy between several reported cases of S100B immunodetection in CNS myelin and myelinating OLs on the one hand, and the systematic use of the S100B protein as an alleged astrocytic marker in studies of the mammalian CNS on the other. To resolve this discrepancy, we have compared the developmental distribution of EGFP+ cells in the CNS of s100b-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) (Vives et al., 2003) and cnp-EGFP (Yuan et al., 2002) mice, and examined the degree of overlap between EGFP expression and that of stage-specific markers of OL differentiation during the embryonic and postnatal phases of development. We demonstrate that the S100B protein is expressed in postnatal and adult populations of NG2+ progenitors of mouse brain, as well as in immature and mature myelinating OLs present in the brain and spinal cord of embryonic and adult mice, respectively. Comparison between EGFP and endogenous S100B expression in the s100b-EGFP and cnp-EGFP mice indicates that S100B protein expression is upregulated in immature and mature OLs. These results argue against the current view that S100B expression is restricted to the astrocytic lineage in the CNS, and indicate that the use of S100B in combination with other molecular markers will help discriminate oligodendrocytes from astrocytes. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.