Transformation of cells of astrocyte lineage into macrophage-like cells in organotypic cultures of mouse spinal cord tissue

H. Kusaka, A. Hirano, M. B. Bornstein, G. R.W. Moore, C. S. Raine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Phagocytic cells on the surface of the explants and their relationships to the surface were examined morphologically and immunocytochemically in organotypic cultures of mouse spinal cord tissue. Phagocytic cells were rounded, had smooth cytoplasmic surfaces and were occasionally closely apposed to underlying cells by junctional complexes. These cells contained dense bodies, vacuoles, smooth and coated vesicles, a few microtubules and bundles of intermediate filaments similar to astroglial filaments. The superficial layer of the explant which usually consisted of astroglial cell bodies and their processes, sometimes contained immature neuroepithelial cells with numerous free ribosomes, centrioles, Golgi apparatus, microtubules and infrequently, intermediate filaments. Overall, the cells resembled poorly differentiated astrocytes. Numerous dense bodies and coated vesicles were observed in some of these immature cells as well as in astrocytes in the surface layer of the explant. Cytoplasmic bridges between immature cells within the explant and phagocytic cells on the surface were observed. Immunocytochemistry revealed the presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein within these surface phagocytic cells. It thus appears that immature neuroepithelial cells of astrocytic lineage are capable of transforming into macrophage-like cells in organotypic culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-89
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocyte
  • Epithelial cell
  • Macrophage
  • Mouse organotypic culture
  • Phagocytosis
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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