Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Previous attempts to generate myelin in the myelin-deficient rat spinal cord by transplanting mouse glia were not successful. In order to determine whether this result was due to graft rejection or to interspecies mismatch of cellular or molecular components at the axoglial junction, we have repeated the experiment in cyclosporine-treated rats. Our results show that in the immunosuppressed hosts, foetal glial xenografts form an abundance of myelin within the dorsal columns at or near the injection site about two weeks after the operation. In some cases, myelination extends virtually across the entire width of the dorsal columns. Ultrastructurally, the myelin sheaths are normal in all respects, including the presence of the ‘radial component’. The lateral edges of the myelin lamellae form typical paranodal axoglial junctions, some displaying periodic ‘transverse bands’. We infer that previous mouse to rat xenograft failures reflect host immune response rather than mismatch of heterologous junctional components. We also compared foetal, early post-natal and adult xenografts. Foetal donor cells, containing an abundance of precursors but virtually no mature oligodendrocytes, are more effective than neonatal donor cells in forming myelin, and after adult grafts, we found no myelin formation. Thus, in xenografts, as in allografts, foetal precursor cells are far more suitable than glia from mature donors in generating significant amounts of myelin.
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