The node of Ranvier is a functionally important site on the myelinated axon where sodium channels are clustered and regeneration of action potentials occurs, allowing fast saltatory conduction of action potentials. Early ultrastructural studies have revealed the presence of "glia" or "astrocytes" at the nodes. NG2 cells, also known as oligodendrocyte precursor cells or polydendrocytes, which are a resident glial cell population in the mature mammalian central nervous system that is distinct from astrocytes, have also been shown to extend processes that contact the nodes. However, the prevalence of the two types of glia at the node has remained unknown. We have used specific cell surface markers to examine the association of NG2 cells and astrocytes with the nodes of Ranvier in the optic nerve, corpus callosum, and spinal cord of young adult mice or rats. We show that more than 95% of the nodes in all three regions contained astrocyte processes, while 33-49% of nodes contained NG2 cell processes. NG2 cell processes were associated more frequently with larger nodes. A few nodes were devoid of glial apposition. Electron microscopy and stimulated emission depletion (STED) super-resolution microscopy confirmed the presence of dual glial insertion at some nodes and further revealed that NG2 cell processes contacted the nodal membrane at discrete points, while astrocytes had broader processes that surrounded the nodes. The study provides the first systematic quantitative analysis of glial cell insertions at central nodes of Ranvier. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:535-552, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Pubmed ID: 27448245 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Animals | Antigens | Astrocytes | Corpus Callosum | Fluorescent Antibody Technique | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Mice, Transgenic | Microscopy, Confocal | Microscopy, Immunoelectron | Neural Stem Cells | Oligodendroglia | Optic Nerve | Proteoglycans | Ranvier's Nodes | Rats, Sprague-Dawley | Spinal Cord | Thoracic Vertebrae
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