Scientific reports

Association of astrocytes with neurons and astrocytes derived from distinct progenitor domains in the subpallium.

PMID 26193445


Astrocytes play pivotal roles in metabolism and homeostasis as well as in neural development and function in a manner thought to depend on their region-specific diversity. In the mouse spinal cord, astrocytes and neurons, which are derived from a common progenitor domain (PD) and controlled by common PD-specific transcription factors, migrate radially and share their final positions. However, whether astrocytes can only interact with neurons from common PDs in the brain remains unknown. Here, we focused on subpallium-derived cells, because the subpallium generates neurons that show a diverse mode of migration. We tracked their fate by in utero electroporation of plasmids that allow for chromosomal integration of transgenes or of a Cre recombinase expression vector to reporter mice. We also used an Nkx2.1(Cre) mouse line to fate map the cells originating from the medial ganglionic eminence and preoptic area. We find that although neurons and astrocytes are labeled in various regions, only neurons are labeled in the neocortex, hippocampus and olfactory bulb. Furthermore, we find astrocytes derived from an Nkx 2.1-negative PD are associated with neurons from the Nkx2.1(+) PD. Thus, forebrain astrocytes can associate with neurons as well as astrocytes derived from a distinct PD.