Olig2 is an important transcription factor essential for the specification and differentiation of oligodendrocytes as well as astrocytes and neurons during developmental stages. However, Olig2 distribution pattern and its relationship among different types of glial cells in the adult central nervous system (CNS) are not well characterized. Here, we systematically examined Olig2 expression pattern in combination with major markers of neurons and glial cells throughout the brain and spinal cord in the adult mice. As expected, Olig2 is universally expressed in oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), but not in neurons or microglia. Interestingly, we discover a subpopulation of Olig2+ astrocytes that are highly enriched in some specific regions including the olfactory bulb, thalamus, midbrain, medulla, and spinal cord in the adult mice. Moreover, OPCs have high expression level of Olig2, whereas oligodendrocytes and astrocytes have similar level of Olig2 expression. Our results suggest that a distinct population of Olig2+ astrocytes are highly concentrated in discrete regions in the adult CNS. Investigating the functional significance of these Olig2+ astrocytes in both resting state and pathological state of the brain and spinal cord may broaden our understanding on astrocytic heterogeneity and functions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience