Olig2/Plp-positive progenitor cells give rise to Bergmann glia in the cerebellum.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/cddis.2013.74
NG2 (nerve/glial antigen2)-expressing cells represent the largest population of postnatal progenitors in the central nervous system and have been classified as oligodendroglial progenitor cells, but the fate and function of these cells remain incompletely characterized. Previous studies have focused on characterizing these progenitors in the postnatal and adult subventricular zone and on analyzing the cellular and physiological properties of these cells in white and gray matter regions in the forebrain. In the present study, we examine the types of neural progeny generated by NG2 progenitors in the cerebellum by employing genetic fate mapping techniques using inducible Cre-Lox systems in vivo with two different mouse lines, the Plp-Cre-ER(T2)/Rosa26-EYFP and Olig2-Cre-ER(T2)/Rosa26-EYFP double-transgenic mice. Our data indicate that Olig2/Plp-positive NG2 cells display multipotential properties, primarily give rise to oligodendroglia but, surprisingly, also generate Bergmann glia, which are specialized glial cells in the cerebellum. The NG2+ cells also give rise to astrocytes, but not neurons. In addition, we show that glutamate signaling is involved in distinct NG2+ cell-fate/differentiation pathways and plays a role in the normal development of Bergmann glia. We also show an increase of cerebellar oligodendroglial lineage cells in response to hypoxic-ischemic injury, but the ability of NG2+ cells to give rise to Bergmann glia and astrocytes remains unchanged. Overall, our study reveals a novel Bergmann glia fate of Olig2/Plp-positive NG2 progenitors, demonstrates the differentiation of these progenitors into various functional glial cell types, and provides significant insights into the fate and function of Olig2/Plp-positive progenitor cells in health and disease.