Oligodendrocyte progenitors in the embryonic spinal cord express DM-20

Peter J Dickinson, M. L. Fanarraga, I. R. Griffiths, J. M. Barrie, E. Kyriakides, P. Montague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Oligodendrocyte progenitors, originating in the ventral ventricular zone of the embryonic rodent spinal cord, migrate and differentiate into the oligodendrocytes myelinating the future white matter. Transcripts for the dm-20 isoform of the proteolipid protein (plp) gene are detectable initially in cells of the ventral ventricular region of the embryonic central canal and subsequently throughout the white matter. The dm-20+ cells are present several days before oligodendrocytes or myelin sheaths are detectable. The purpose of the present study was to determine if DM-20 protein is present and whether DM-20+ cells can be linked to the oligodendrocyte lineage in the mouse spinal cord. Expression of plp and dm-20 transcripts and product was monitored using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and in situ hybridization and immunostaining of cryosections and associated cultures. Cell identification was performed using antigenic markers characterizing different stages of oligodendrocyte differentiation We show a temporal and spatial progression of cells expressing dm-20 transcripts and product from the ventral ventricular zone at embryonic day 13 (E13.0), via the lateral borders of the floor plate to the ventral pia and white matter. The cells, initially devoid of myelin basic protein (MBP) and PLP, co-express these myelin proteins at approximately E16.5/17.0. Some DM-20+ cells co-label with definitive markers of the early oligodendrocyte lineage, are capable of mitosis and subsequently differentiate into oligodendrocytes. Other DM-20+ cells may represent earlier precursor cells. The expression of DM-20 in oligodendrocyte progenitors is consistent with a postulated role in glial cell development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Differentiation
  • Oligodendrocyte
  • plp gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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