The interfascicular oligodendroglia of the rat striatum nucleus is studied in control animals and under experimentally induced brain edemas. Enzyme histochemical studies were performed. Normal oligodendrocytes show two different enzymatic distributions. While Mg2+-ATPase, TPPase, adenylate cyclase and SDH are shown to be situated at the cell bodies and some proximal processes, 5’-nucleotidase reaction is seen at the cell fine distal processes. In spite of its strong activity in oligodendroglial endings the latter enzyme is not seen at the myelin sheath. This sheath and the interfascicular cells being intimately related, 5’-nucleotidase appears to be important not only during myelination, as almost all authors emphasize, but also in the adult myelin metabolism. Experimental brain edema shows some changes in the interfascicular oligodendroglia enzymatic activities for 5’-nucleotidase, Mg2+-ATPase and adenylate cyclase. A progressive disappearance of the former enzyme is observed. These features and those derived from local ionic alterations may be concerned with the special susceptibility of white matter for some types of brain swellings.

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