Oligodendrocyte morphology in the developing brain of the African giant rat (Cricetomys gambianus, Waterhouse): Histology, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy

Document Type



Brain and Mind Institute


Oligodendrocyte and myelin-related studies have been pivotal in understanding disruption of central nervous system (CNS) myelin through injury, toxicological, pathological degeneration or genetic intervention. The African giant rat (AGR) has been postulated as an indigenous wild-type model within the African context. This work thus describes oligodendrocyte morphologies and myelin components of the developing African giant rat brain using histological, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural techniques. Five types, precursor-progenitor oligodendrocytes, pre-oligodendrocytes, immature oligodendrocytes, mature non-myelinating oligodendrocytes and mature myelinating oligodendrocytes, were identified. The first four types were observed in neonates while juvenile and adult AGR had predominantly mature myelinating oligodendrocytes with evidence of myelin sheath deposition. All cell types identified showed positive CNPase-positive immunosignalling across all age groups. This suggests CNPase as a suitable, sensitive and reliable biomarker for studying CNS neurodegenerative/demyelinating disorders in the AGR. This baseline study has given detailed insight into the morphology of oligodendrocytes and myelin in the AGR. It may be useful for anatomical studies and detection of alterations in neurocellular profile of oligodendrocytes and myelin in the AGR in real-life or in experimental models.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia