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Keywords:

  • cell sorting;
  • flow cytometry;
  • glial cells;
  • in vitro;
  • neural stem cells;
  • neuron;
  • cluster of differentiation

Abstract While the hematopoietic lineage has been extensively studied using cluster of differentiation (CD) antibodies, very few data are available on the extracellular epitopes expressed by rat neural progenitors (rNPC) and their derivatives. In the present study, we used flow cytometry to screen 47 cell surface antigens, initially known as immune markers. The quantitative analyses were performed on rat neurospheres and compared with primary cultures of astroglial cells or cerebellar neurons. Several antigens such as CD80 or CD86 were clearly undetectable while others, like CD26 or CD161, showed a weak expression. Interestingly, 10% and 15% of the cells were immunopositive for CD172a and CD200, two immunoglobulin superfamily members preferentially expressed by glial or neuronal cells, respectively. Over 40% of the cells were immunopositive for CD3, CD71, or MHCI. The biological significance of the latter markers in rNPC remains to be determined but analyses of the CD3/CD3+ populations isolated by magnetic cell separation revealed differences in their cell fate. Indeed, CD3+ cells did not establish neurospheres and differentiated mostly into GFAP+ cells while CD3 cells were able to generate neurospheres upon mitogen treatment and gave rise to GFAP+, A2B5+, Tuj-1+, and RIP+ cells under differentiating conditions. In contrast, CD71/CD71+ cells did not show any significant difference in their proliferating and differentiating potentials. Finally, it is worth noting that an subpopulation of cells in rat neurospheres exhibit an immunoreactivity against anti-CD25 (IL2 receptor) and anti-CD62L (L-selectin) antibodies. The results reveal particular surface antigen profiles, giving new perspectives on the properties of rat brain-derived cells.