Identification of proliferative progenitors associated with prominent postnatal growth of the pons

Robert A. Lindquist, etc
Nature Communications, 2016

The pons controls crucial sensorimotor and autonomic functions. In humans, it grows sixfold postnatally and is a site of paediatric gliomas; however, the mechanisms of pontine growth remain poorly understood. We show that the murine pons quadruples in volume postnatally; growth is fastest during postnatal days 0–4 (P0–P4), preceding most myelination. We identify three postnatal proliferative compartments: ventricular, midline and parenchymal. We find no evidence of postnatal neurogenesis in the pons, but each progenitor compartment produces new astroglia and oligodendroglia; the latter expand 10- to 18-fold postnatally, and are derived mostly from the parenchyma. Nearly all parenchymal progenitors at P4 are Sox2+Olig2+, but by P8 a Sox2- subpopulation emerges, suggesting a lineage progression from Sox2+ ‘early’ to Sox2- ‘late’ oligodendrocyte progenitor. Fate mapping reveals that >90% of adult oligodendrocytes derive from P2–P3 Sox2+ progenitors. These results demonstrate the importance of postnatal Sox2+Olig2+ progenitors in pontine growth and oligodendrogenesis.

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Nature Communications