It has been recently proposed that NG2 proteoglycan expressing cells may stand for a unique class of glia in adult CNS referred to as oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). These NG2 positive cells can give rise to mature oligodendrocytes, however a large number of them persists in immature stage throughout a lifetime and responds to various types of injury. In order to investigate OPCs reactivity in vitro, a model of trimethyltin evoked neurodegeneration was used. The results demonstrate that NG2 expressing cells survive treatment with the neurotoxin in a concentration that injures most of neurons in the culture. Moreover, progenitors change their morphology when treated with trimethyltin, upregulate the NG2 proteoglycan expression and retain the ability to divide.
Karola Dzwonek, Laboratory of Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection, Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, 3 Pasteur St., 02-093 Warsaw, Poland