The proportion of cultured rat oligodendrocytes (OL) that extended processes of over three soma diameter in length is dependent on the age of the animals from which the brains were derived; up to 70% of neonatal OL attained this criterion within 3 days, and this proportion progressively decreased with advancing ages of the animals (1, 3, and 6 months). The lower extent of process formation from older rat OL could he augmented, and indeed to equal neonatal levels, by treatment of cells with phorbol esters that stimulate protein kinase C: 4β‐phorbol‐12,13‐dibutyrate (PDB) and phorbol‐12‐myristate‐13‐acetate (PMA). Enhancement of process formation, by PDB and PMA was also observed for cultured adult human and bovine OL. For adult OL from all three species, a phorbol ester that binds but that does not activate protein kinase C, 4α‐phorbol‐12,13‐didecanoate, did not result in enhancement of process formation. Selectively to biologically active phorbol esters was shown by the inability of a wide range of growth factors to promote process extension. Immunohistochemical analyses indicate that the type III isozyme of protein kinase C predominates in cultured OL; the apparent intensity of immunoreactive PKC was not different between controls or cultures treated for 12 days with PDB, suggesting that the persistent presence of PDB might not have down‐regulated the enzyme, in contrast to other cell types. We propose that stimulation of protein kinase C is critical to the triggering of process formation by cultured OL in vitro.
- process formation
- protein kinase C
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience