Morphology of early developing oligodendrocytes in the ventrolateral spinal cord of the chicken
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The oligodendroglial population includes Type I and II cells related to several thin axons, Type III cells with a few processes in relation to relatively thick axons and Type IV cells related to a single thick axon. This structural diversity of oligodendrocytes is accompanied by a molecular heterogeneity. In the chicken spinal cord, oligodendrocytes have begun to contact axons at embryonic day (E)10 and compact sheaths have appeared by E12. At the latter stage, most sheath-forming oligodendrocytes contact more than one axon. At E15, however, each sheath-forming cell seems to have developed a Schwann cell-like anatomy, being related to a single axon. Based on these findings, the present study examines more thoroughly the anatomy of early developing oligodendrocytes in the chicken spinal cord. Examination of slices immunostained with antibodies against the oligodendroglial marker O4 showed that a few positive cells are present at E6, after which the occurrence increases with age. At E12 most immunostained cells have two or more processes. At E15 however, dye-injected oligodendrocytes have developed a Type IV structure. Between E12 and E15, mean sheath length increases about 4×, from 50 μm to over 200 μm, while the length of the spinal cord increases 36% only. This indicates that early oligodendrocytes in chicken white matter develop a Type IV anatomy between E12 and E15 through an elimination of sheaths.
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