Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The phylogenetic evolution was studied of both glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin expression in the ependyma of the adult vertebrate spinal cord. Eleven species from different vertebrate groups were examined using different fixatives and fixation procedures to demonstrate any differences in immunoreactivity. GFAP expression in the ependymal cells showed a clear inverse relation with phylogenetic evolution because it was more elevated in lower than in higher vertebrates. GFAP positive cells can be ependymocytes and tanycytes, although depending on their structural characteristics and distribution, the scarce GFAP positive ependymal cells in higher vertebrates may be tanycytes. Ependymal vimentin expression showed a species-dependent pattern instead of a phylogenetic pattern of expression. Vimentin positive ependymal cells were only found in fish and rats; in fish, they were tanycytes and were quite scarce, with only one or two cells per section being immunostained. However, in the rat spinal cord, all the ependymocytes showed positive immunostaining for vimentin. The importance of the immunohistochemical procedure, the cellular nature of GFAP positive ependymal cells and the relationship between tanycytes and ependymocytes are discussed, as well as GFAP and vimentin expression.
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