Author(s): Babiarz J, KaneGoldsmith N, Basak S, Liu K, Young W,
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Abstract Olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC), which normally associate closely with but do not myelinate axons in situ, myelinate axons in the adult mammalian spinal cord. They are of clinical interest as candidate cells for autologous transplantation but the ability of OEC to myelinate axons in vitro has been controversial. To clarify this issue, we isolated OEC from olfactory bulbs (OB) of juvenile and adult rats expressing GFP and analyzed their ability to myelinate axons. Using a well-defined assay for myelination of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) axons in culture, we found that OEC from juvenile pups associated with and then myelinated DRG axons. OEC assembled into bundles with the axons by 1week and required more than a week before myelination on axons was detected. In contrast, rat Schwann cells did not bundle axons and they formed P0(+) and MBP(+) myelin segments after as little as 1week. Most of the OEC in culture exhibited staining for calponin, a marker that was not found on Schwann cells in culture, whereas in both OEC and Schwann cell populations nearly all cells were positive for p75NTR and GFAP. These results confirm previous reports showing only subtle immunological differences between Schwann cells and OEC. Besides differences in the rate of myelination, we detected two additional functional differences in the interactions of OEC and Schwann cells with DRG axons. First, the diameter of OEC generated myelin was greater than for Schwann cell myelin on DRG axons. Second, OEC but not Schwann cells myelinated DRG axons in the absence of vitamin C. OEC isolated from adult OB were also found to bundle and myelinate DRG axons but the latter occurred only after incubation times of at least 3weeks. The results indicate that adult OEC require longer incubation times than juvenile OEC to myelinate axons and suggest that patterns of myelination by OEC and Schwann cells are distinguishable at least on axons in vitro. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Understanding olfactory ensheathing glia and their prospect for nervous system repair. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Exp Neurol
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy