Development of transferrin‐positive oligodendrocytes in the rat central nervous system

J. R. Connor, R. E. Fine

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Transferrin is the second most abundant plasma protein and functions to transport iron. It is an essential constituent in culture media for virtually all cells. In a recent study, we reported that transferrin (Tf) is specifically located in oligodendrocytes in the rat nervous system. This investigation examines immunohistochemically the development of Tf in the cerebral cortex, corpus striatum, and spinal cord. Tf is first seen in oligodendrocytes in the spinal cord white matter at 5 days of age. The immunoreactivity is confined to the white matter in the periphery of the spinal cord between 5 and 8 days of age. By 10–12 days of age, the number of immunoreactive oligodendrocytes in the spinal cord white matter increases considerably, corresponding to the onset of myelination. Tf‐positive oligodendrocytes are first found in the gray matter at 15 days of age. By 30 days of age, the number and distribution of Tf‐positive oligodendrocytes in both the brain and spinal cord have reached the adult pattern. The results of this study demonstrate a spatial and temporal association between Tf development and myelinogenesis. This suggests that part of the process of differentiation of oligodendrocytes includes the accumulation of Tf, perhaps in order to support the metabolic demands associated with the production and maintenance of myelin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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