Astrocytes Derived from SVZ Precursors

In the mammalian cortex, both neurons and glia arise from the proliferating neuroepithelial cells of the telencephalic ventricular and subventricular zone. The SVZ is a mosaic of multipotential and lineage-restricted precursors in which environmental cues influence both fate choice and all surviving cells. In the adult brain, SVZ astrocytes could be neural stem cells.

The generation of astrocytes directly from SVZ cells was suggested by morphological observations

Svz Astrocytes
Figure 2 Morphogenetic transformation of fetal radial glial cells into various astrocytic forms [adapted from P. Rakic, 1995, in Neuroglia (H. Hettenmann and B. Ransom, Eds.), pp. 746-762, Oxford Univ. Press, New York].

providing evidence for separate astrocyte and oligodendrocyte lineages while these cells are still proliferating. Moreover, because angiogenesis and astrogenesis occur over a similar period of time during neurogenesis, it has been suggested that the growth of blood vessels may even drive the selection of astrocytic fate by a progenitor cell; at the time at which vessel growth is completed, fewer progenitors may be directed toward an astrocytic fate, allowing more to differentiate into oligodendrocytes.

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