Oligodendrocyte markers

A summary of markers used to label oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursor cells.

Oligodendrocytes are responsible for the production of myelin, which insulates the axons of the central nervous system. Their function is equivalent to that of Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system.

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells

PDGF receptor alpha

A cell surface tyrosine kinase receptor and a marker of oligodendrocyte precursor cells.

Human cerebellum tissue stained with anti-PDGF receptor alpha (ab124392).

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A membrane chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (aka CSPG4) expressed by oligodendrocyte precursor cells.

Rat brain tissue sections stained with anti-NG2 (green) (ab50009).

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Mature oligodendrocytes

Olig 1, 2, and 3

Transcription factors necessary for oligodendrocyte development.

Rat brain tissue sections stained with anti-olig2 (green) (ab109186).

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Oligodendrocyte specific protein (OSP)

A protein found on the surface of oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system.

Mouse cortical tissue sections stained with  anti-oligodendrocyte specific protein (green) (ab53041).

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Myelin basic protein (MBP)

A structural component of myelin, expressed exclusively by myelinating glia.

Mouse brain tissue sections stained with anti-myelin basic protein (green) ( ab40390).

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Inhibitor of MBP phosphorylation: Arachidonic acid (ab120916)

Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)

A glycoprotein found on the surface of oligodendrocytes.

Rat  oligodendrocytes stained with anti-myelin oligodendrocyte binding protein (ab115597).

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A transcription factor that directs neural stem cells towards the glial lineage. Use in combination with other markers to identify oligodendrocytes.

Chick embryo ( E4) sections stained with anti-SOX10 (ab27655).

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  • Barbarese, E. et al. Expression and localization of myelin basic protein in oligodendrocytes and transfected fibroblasts. J. Neurochem. 51, 1737–45 (1988).
  • Dyer, C. A., Hickey, W. F. & Geisert, E. E. Myelin/oligodendrocyte-specific protein: a novel surface membrane protein that associates with microtubules. J. Neurosci. Res. 28, 607–13 (1991).
  • Marques, S. et al. Oligodendrocyte heterogeneity in the mouse juvenile and adult central nervous system. Science 352, 1326–9 (2016).
  • Mei, F. et al. Stage-specific deletion of Olig2 conveys opposing functions on differentiation and maturation of oligodendrocytes. J. Neurosci. 33, 8454–62 (2013).
  • Pozniak, C. D. et al. Sox10 directs neural stem cells toward the oligodendrocyte lineage by decreasing Suppressor of Fused expression. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 107, 21795–800 (2010).
  • Scolding, N. J. et al. Myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) is a surface marker of oligodendrocyte maturation. J. Neuroimmunol. 22, 169–176 (1989).
  • Takeda M, S. B. Arachidonic acid inhibits myelin basic protein phosphorylation in cultured oligodendrocytes.Glia 277–84 (1997).
  • Zhou, Q., Choi, G. & Anderson, D. J. The bHLH transcription factor Olig2 Promotes oligodendrocyte differentiation in collaboration with Nkx2.2. Neuron 31, 791–807 (2001).
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