Journal of neuroscience research

Three types of ependymal cells with intracellular calcium oscillation are characterized by distinct cilia beating properties.

PMID 24811319


Ependymal cells are multiciliated epithelial cells that line the ventricles in the adult brain. Abnormal function or structure of ependymal cilia has been associated with various neurological deficits. For the first time, we report three distinct ependymal cell types, I, II, and III, based on their unique ciliary beating frequency and beating angle. These ependymal cells have specific localizations within the third ventricle of the mouse brain. Furthermore, neither ependymal cell types nor their localizations are altered by aging. Our high-speed fluorescence imaging analysis reveals that these ependymal cells have an intracellular pacing calcium oscillation property. Our study further shows that alcohol can significantly repress the amplitude of calcium oscillation and the frequency of ciliary beating, resulting in an overall decrease in volume replacement by the cilia. Furthermore, the pharmacological agent cilostazol could differentially increase cilia beating frequency in type II, but not in type I or type III, ependymal cells. In summary, we provide the first evidence of three distinct types of ependymal cells with calcium oscillation properties.