Fibroblast growth factors (FGF) receptors FgfR1, FgfR2 and FgfR3 are differentially regulated during oligodendrocyte (OL) maturation in vitro: FgfR3 is expressed by OL progenitors whereas FgfR2 is expressed by differentiated OLs[Mol Cell Neurosci 1996;7:263–275], and we have recently shown that FgfR3 is required for the timely differentiation of OLs in vivo [J Neurosci 2003;23:883–894].Here we have used in situhybridization to investigate the expression patterns of FgfR1–3 and compare them to the putative OL progenitor markers Olig2, Pdgfrα and Plp/dm20 as a function of development in vivo, in particular at sites of OL specification, migration or differentiation in the mouse forebrain and cerebellum. We show that at early stages FgfR1–3 expression overlaps with that of Olig2 in the embryonic ventricular zone of the lateral and medial ganglionic eminences. Further, a scattered population of cells expressing FgfR3 (but not FgfR1 or FgfR2) in the ventral telencephalon appear to arise from the ventricular zone, and at later stages are found more dorsally in the cortex, in an overall pattern similar to Olig2 and/or Pdgfrα. Postnatal expression of FgfR2 increases with age, more prominently in specific regions, including the cortical and cerebellar white matter and optic nerve. Thus, the differential expression pattern of FgfR2 and FgfR3 observed in vivo suggests that their expression is developmentally regulated in a manner consistent with the pattern of their expression in culture. These data provide further insights into role of FgfRs in OL development, and they emphasize that these receptors are positioned both spatially and temporally to impact OL generation in vivo.

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