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Vigano, Francesca, Schneider, Sarah, Cimino, Mauro, Bonfanti, Elisabetta, Gelosa, Paolo, Sironi, Luigi, Abbracchio, Maria P. and Dimou, Leda (2016): GPR17 Expressing NG2-Glia: Oligodendrocyte Progenitors Serving as a Reserve Pool After Injury. In: Glia, Vol. 64, No. 2: pp. 287-299

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In the adult brain NG2-glia continuously generate mature, myelinating oligodendrocytes. To which extent the differentiation process is common to all NG2-glia and whether distinct pools are recruited for repair under physiological and pathological conditions still needs clarification. Here, we aimed at investigating the differentiation potential of adult NG2-glia that specifically express the G-protein coupled receptor 17 (GPR17), a membrane receptor that regulates the differentiation of these cells at postnatal stages. To this aim, we generated the first BAC transgenic GPR17-iCreER(T2) mouse line for fate mapping studies. In these mice, under physiological conditions, GPR17(+) cells - in contrast to GPR17(-) NG2-glia - did not differentiate within 3 months, a peculiarity that was overcome after cerebral damage induced by acute injury or ischemia. After these insults, GPR17(+) NG2-glia rapidly reacted to the damage and underwent maturation, suggesting that they represent a 'reserve pool' of adult progenitors maintained for repair purposes.

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