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Regional density of glial cells in the rat corpus callosum

Keywords: Astrocytes , corpus callosum , genu , glial cells , splenium

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Abstract:

Axons and glial cells are the main components of white matter. The corpus callosum (CC) is the largest white matter tract in mammals; in rodents, 99% of the cells correspond to glia after postnatal day 5 (P5). The area of the CC varies through life and regional differences related to the number of axons have been previously described. Whether glial cell density varies accordingly is unknown; thus the aim of this study was to estimate glial cell density for the genu, body and splenium -the three main regions of CC-, of P6 and P30 rats. Here we report that the density of CC glial cells reduced by ~10% from P6 to P30. Even so, the density of astrocytes showed a slight increase (+6%), probably due to differentiation of glioblasts. Interestingly, glial cell density decreased for the genu (-21%) and the body (-13%), while for the splenium a minor increase (+5%) was observed. The astrocyte/glia ratio increased (from P6 to P30) for the genu (+27%), body (+17%) and splenium (+4%). Together, our results showed regional differences in glial cell density of the CC. Whether this pattern is modified in some neuropathologies remains to be explored.

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