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1.  Developmental and Post-Injury Cortical Gliogenesis: A Genetic Fate-Mapping Study with Nestin-CreER Mice 
Glia  2009;57(10):1115-1129.
The primary sources of cortical gliogenesis, either during development or after adult brain injury, remain uncertain. We previously generated Nestin-CreER mice to fate-map the progeny of radial glial cells (RG), a source of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the nervous system. Here, we show that Nestin-CreER mice label another population of glial progenitors, namely the perinatal subventricular zone (SVZ) glioblasts, if they are crossed with stop-floxed EGFP mice and receive tamoxifen in late embryogenesis (E16-E18). Quantification showed E18 tamoxifen-induction labeled more perinatal SVZ glioblasts than RG and transitional RG combined in the newborn brain (54% vs. 22%). Time-lapse microscopy showed SVZ-glioblasts underwent complex metamorphosis and often-reciprocal transformation into transitional RG. Surprisingly, the E10-dosed RG progenitors produced astrocytes, but no oligodendrocytes, whereas E18-induction fate-mapped both astrocytes and NG2+ oligodendrocyte precursors in the postnatal brain. These results suggest that cortical oligodendrocytes mostly derive from perinatal SVZ glioblast progenitors. Further, by combining genetic fate-mapping and BrdU-labeling, we showed that cortical astrocytes cease proliferation soon after birth (
PMCID: PMC4286201  PMID: 19115384
Subventricular zone (SVZ)-glioblasts; Radial Glia (RG); Gliogenesis; Gliosis; Oligodendrocyte; Astrocyte
latelet-derived growth factor alpha-receptor (PDGFαR) mediated signaling plays a key role in the development of glial cells of the central nervous system. In vivo and in vitro studies show that PDGFαR is actively expressed in proliferative and motile oligodendrocyte type-2 astrocyte (O-2A) glial progenitor cells. However, PDGFαR expression is barely detectable in mature glial cells. The exact mechanism underlying the loss of PDGFαR expression is unknown. In this study, we employed a rat brain-derived O-2A glial progenitor cell line, CG4 as a culture model to investigate signals capable of inhibiting PDGFαR gene expression. PDGFαR mRNA levels decreased significantly as CG4 cells differentiated into both oligodendrocyte and astrocyte lineages. We showed that inhibition of PDGFαR expression was promoted by prostaglandin E2 via protein kinase A activation. Both cAMP analogs (db-cAMP and 8'bromo-cAMP) and adenylate cyclase activator (forskolin) were potent suppressors of PDGFαR expression in CG4 cells. This inhibitory effect resulted from an increased destabilization of PDGFαR mRNA instead of a decreased PDGFαR gene transcription. Importantly, db-cAMP failed to reduce PDGFαR mRNA levels in several PDGFαR over-expressing human glioma cell lines. Together, these results suggest that cAMP-dependent pathway played a key regulatory role in controlling PDGFαR mRNA levels during normal glial development, and that a breakdown in the cross talk between cAMP and PDGF pathways may underlie the uncontrolled proliferation and immature differentiation state in the glial tumors.
PMCID: PMC3228579  PMID: 22140595
PDGF; cyclic AMP; mRNA turnover; glioma
Stem Cells and Development  2013;22(15):2121-2131.
The mechanisms underlying the specification of oligodendrocyte fate from multipotent neural progenitor cells (NPCs) in developing human brain are unknown. In this study, we sought to identify antigens sufficient to distinguish NPCs free from oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). We investigated the potential overlap of NPC and OPC antigens using multicolor fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) for CD133/PROM1, A2B5, and CD140a/PDGFαR antigens. Surprisingly, we found that CD133, but not A2B5, was capable of enriching for OLIG2 expression, Sox10 enhancer activity, and oligodendrocyte potential. As a subpopulation of CD133-positive cells expressed CD140a, we asked whether CD133 enriched bone fide NPCs regardless of CD140a expression. We found that CD133+CD140a− cells were highly enriched for neurosphere initiating cells and were multipotent. Importantly, when analyzed immediately following isolation, CD133+CD140a− NPCs lacked the capacity to generate oligodendrocytes. In contrast, CD133+CD140a+ cells were OLIG2-expressing OPCs capable of oligodendrocyte differentiation, but formed neurospheres with lower efficiency and were largely restricted to glial fate. Gene expression analysis further confirmed the stem cell nature of CD133+CD140a− cells. As human CD133+ cells comprised both NPCs and OPCs, CD133 expression alone cannot be considered a specific marker of the stem cell phenotype, but rather comprises a heterogeneous mix of glial restricted as well as multipotent neural precursors. In contrast, CD133/CD140a-based FACS permits the separation of defined progenitor populations and the study of neural stem and oligodendrocyte fate specification in the human brain.
PMCID: PMC3715795  PMID: 23488628
The Journal of Cell Biology  1990;111(3):1183-1195.
A demyelinating disease induced in C57B1/6N mice by intracranial injection of a coronavirus (murine hepatitis virus strain A59) is followed by functional recovery and efficient CNS myelin repair. To study the biological properties of the cells involved in this repair process, glial cells were isolated and cultured from spinal cords of these young adult mice during demyelination and remyelination. Using three-color immunofluorescence combined with [3H]thymidine autoradiography, we have analyzed the antigenic phenotype and mitotic potential of individual glial cells. We identified oligodendrocytes with an antibody to galactocerebroside, astrocytes with an antibody to glial fibrillary acidic protein, and oligodendrocyte-type 2 astrocyte (O-2A) progenitor cells with the O4 antibody. Cultures from demyelinated tissue differed in several ways from those of age-matched controls: first, the total number of O-2A lineage cells was strikingly increased; second, the O-2A population consisted of a higher proportion of O4-positive astrocytes and cells of mixed oligodendrocyte-astrocyte phenotype; and third, all the cell types within the O-2A lineage showed enhanced proliferation. This proliferation was not further enhanced by adding PDGF, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), or insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) to the defined medium. However, bFGF and IGF-I seemed to influence the fate of O-2A lineage cells in cultures of demyelinated tissue. Basic FGF decreased the percentage of cells expressing galactocerebroside. In contrast, IGF-I increased the relative proportion of oligodendrocytes. Thus, O-2A lineage cells from adult mice display greater phenotypic plasticity and enhanced mitotic potential in response to an episode of demyelination. These properties may be linked to the efficient remyelination achieved in this demyelinating disease.
PMCID: PMC2116277  PMID: 2167897
The adult mammalian brain and spinal cord contain glial precursors that express platelet-derived growth factor receptors (alpha subunit, PDGFRA) and the NG2 proteoglycan. These “NG2 cells” descend from oligodendrocyte precursors in the perinatal CNS and continue to generate myelinating oligodendrocytes in the grey and white matter of the postnatal brain. It has been proposed that NG2 cells can also generate reactive astrocytes at sites of CNS injury or demyelination. To test this we examined the fates of PDGFRA/ NG2 cells in the mouse spinal cord during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) - a demyelinating condition that models some aspects of multiple sclerosis in humans. We administered tamoxifen to Pdgfra-CreERT2: Rosa26R-YFP mice in order to induce yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) expression in PDGFRA/ NG2 cells and their differentiated progeny. We subsequently induced EAE and observed a large (>4-fold) increase in the local density of YFP+ cells, >90% of which were oligodendrocyte lineage cells. Many of these became CC1-positive, NG2-negative differentiated oligodendrocytes that expressed myelin markers CNP and Tmem10/ Opalin. PDGFRA/ NG2 cells generated very few GFAP+ reactive astrocytes (1-2% of all YFP+ cells) or NeuN+ neurons (<0.02%). Thus, PDGFRA/ NG2 cells act predominantly as a reservoir of new oligodendrocytes in the demyelinated spinal cord.
PMCID: PMC3063541  PMID: 21123584
Demyelination; oligodendrocyte; neural precursor cell; Cre-lox; spinal cord; mouse
Accumulations of hypertrophic, intensely glial fibrillary acidic protein positive (GFAP)+ astroglia, which also express immunoreactive nestin and vimentin, are prominent features of multiple sclerosis lesions. The issues of the cellular origin of hypertrophic GFAP+/vimentin+/nestin+ “reactive” astroglia and also the plasticities and lineage relationships among three macroglial progenitor populations - oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), astrocytes and ependymal cells - during multiple sclerosis and other CNS diseases remain controversial. We employed genetic fate-mappings with a battery of inducible Cre drivers (Olig2-Cre-ERT2, GFAP-Cre-ERT2, FoxJ1-Cre-ERT2 and Nestin-Cre-ERT2) to explore these issues in adult mice with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The proliferative rate of spinal cord OPCs rose five-fold above control levels during EAE, and numbers of oligodendroglia increased as well, but astrogenesis from OPCs was rare. Spinal cord ependymal cells, previously reported to be multipotent, did not augment their low proliferative rate, nor give rise to astroglia or OPCs. Instead, the hypertrophic, vimentin+/nestin+, reactive astroglia that accumulated in spinal cord in this multiple sclerosis model were derived by proliferation and phenotypic transformation of fibrous astroglia in white matter, and solely by phenotypic transformation of protoplasmic astroglia in gray matter. This comprehensive analysis of macroglial plasticity in EAE helps to clarify the origins of astrogliosis in CNS inflammatory demyelinative disorders.
PMCID: PMC3167226  PMID: 21849552
experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; plasticity; reactive astrocytes; oligodendrocyte progenitor cells; ependymal cells; fate-mapping
BMC Neuroscience  2014;15:12.
Olig1 and Olig2, encoding closely related basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, were originally identified in screens for glial-specific genes. Olig1 and Olig2 are both expressed in restricted parts of the neuroepithelium of the embryonic spinal cord and telencephalon and subsequently in oligodendrocyte lineage cells throughout life. In the spinal cord, Olig2 plays a crucial role in the development of oligodendrocytes and motor neurons, and both cell types are lost from Olig2 null mutant mice. The role of Olig1 has been more cryptic. It was initially reported that Olig1 null mice (with a Cre-Pgk-Neo cassette at the Olig1 locus) have a mild developmental phenotype characterized by a slight delay in oligodendrocyte differentiation. However, a subsequent study of the same line following removal of Pgk-Neo (leaving Olig1-Cre) found severe disruption of oligodendrocyte production, myelination failure and early postnatal lethality. A plausible explanation was proposed, that the highly expressed Pgk-Neo cassette in the original line might have up-regulated the neighbouring Olig2 gene, compensating for loss of Olig1. However, this was not tested, so the importance of Olig1 for oligodendrocyte development has remained unclear.
We generated two independent lines of Olig1 null mice. Both lines had a mild phenotype featuring slightly delayed oligodendrocyte differentiation and maturation but no long-term effect. In addition, we found that Olig2 transcripts were not up-regulated in our Olig1 null mice.
Our findings support the original conclusion that Olig1 plays a minor and non-essential role in oligodendrocyte development and have implications for the interpretation of studies based on Olig1 deficient mice (and perhaps Olig1-Cre mice) from different sources.
PMCID: PMC3904929  PMID: 24423059
Oligodendrocyte; Olig1; Olig2; Myelin; Knockout mice; Spinal cord; Forebrain
Proteolipid promoter (plp promoter) activity in the newborn mouse central nervous system (CNS) is restricted to NG2-expressing oligodendroglial progenitor cells (OPCs) and oligodendrocytes. There are two populations of NG2 progenitors based on their plp promoter expression. Whereas the general population of NG2 progenitors has been shown to be multipotent in vitro and after transplantation, it is not known whether the subpopulation of plp promoter expressing NG2 progenitors (i.e. plp promoter expressing NG2 progenitors, or PPEPs) has the potential to generate multilineage cells during normal development in vivo. We addressed this issue by fate mapping Plp-Cre-ERT2/Rosa26-EYFP (PCE/R) double transgenic mice, which carried an inducible Cre gene under the control of the plp promoter. Expression of the EYFP reporter gene in PPEPs was elicited by administering tamoxifen to postnatal day 7 (P7) PCE/R mice. We have demonstrated that early postnatal PPEPs, which had been thought to be restricted to the oligodendroglial lineage, also unexpectedly gave rise to a subset of immature, postmitotic, protoplasmic astrocytes in the gray matter of the spinal cord and ventral forebrain, but not in white matter. Furthermore, these PPEPs also gave rise to small numbers of immature, doublecortin (DCX)-negative neurons in the ventral forebrain, dorsal cerebral cortex and hippocampus. EYFP-labeled representatives of each of these lineages survived to adulthood. These findings indicate that there are regional differences in the fates of neonatal PPEPs, which are multipotent in vivo, giving rise to oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and neurons.
PMCID: PMC2717630  PMID: 19494148
plp promoter expressing progenitors (PPEPs); NG2/PDGFRa; development; fate mapping; astrogenesis; neurogenesis
mBio  2015;6(3):e02513-14.
Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin (ε-toxin) is responsible for a devastating multifocal central nervous system (CNS) white matter disease in ruminant animals. The mechanism by which ε-toxin causes white matter damage is poorly understood. In this study, we sought to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which ε-toxin causes pathological changes to white matter. In primary CNS cultures, ε-toxin binds to and kills oligodendrocytes but not astrocytes, microglia, or neurons. In cerebellar organotypic culture, ε-toxin induces demyelination, which occurs in a time- and dose-dependent manner, while preserving neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. ε-Toxin specificity for oligodendrocytes was confirmed using enriched glial culture. Sensitivity to ε-toxin is developmentally regulated, as only mature oligodendrocytes are susceptible to ε-toxin; oligodendrocyte progenitor cells are not. ε-Toxin sensitivity is also dependent on oligodendrocyte expression of the proteolipid myelin and lymphocyte protein (MAL), as MAL-deficient oligodendrocytes are insensitive to ε-toxin. In addition, ε-toxin binding to white matter follows the spatial and temporal pattern of MAL expression. A neutralizing antibody against ε-toxin inhibits oligodendrocyte death and demyelination. This study provides several novel insights into the action of ε-toxin in the CNS. (i) ε-Toxin causes selective oligodendrocyte death while preserving all other neural elements. (ii) ε-Toxin-mediated oligodendrocyte death is a cell autonomous effect. (iii) The effects of ε-toxin on the oligodendrocyte lineage are restricted to mature oligodendrocytes. (iv) Expression of the developmentally regulated proteolipid MAL is required for the cytotoxic effects. (v) The cytotoxic effects of ε-toxin can be abrogated by an ε-toxin neutralizing antibody.
Our intestinal tract is host to trillions of microorganisms that play an essential role in health and homeostasis. Disruption of this symbiotic relationship has been implicated in influencing or causing disease in distant organ systems such as the brain. Epsilon toxin (ε-toxin)-carrying Clostridium perfringens strains are responsible for a devastating white matter disease in ruminant animals that shares similar features with human multiple sclerosis. In this report, we define the mechanism by which ε-toxin causes white matter disease. We find that ε-toxin specifically targets the myelin-forming cells of the central nervous system (CNS), oligodendrocytes, leading to cell death. The selectivity of ε-toxin for oligodendrocytes is remarkable, as other cells of the CNS are unaffected. Importantly, ε-toxin-induced oligodendrocyte death results in demyelination and is dependent on expression of myelin and lymphocyte protein (MAL). These results help complete the mechanistic pathway from bacteria to brain by explaining the specific cellular target of ε-toxin within the CNS.
PMCID: PMC4471556  PMID: 26081637
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(30):12528-12542.
We have previously demonstrated that Sox17 regulates cell cycle exit and differentiation in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. Here we investigated its function in white matter (WM) development and adult injury with a newly generated transgenic mouse overexpressing Sox17 in the oligodendrocyte lineage under the CNPase promoter. Sox17 overexpression in CNP-Sox17 mice sequentially promoted postnatal oligodendrogenesis, increasing NG2 progenitor cells from postnatal day (P) 15, then O4+ and CC1+ cells at P30 and P120, respectively. Total Olig2+ oligodendrocyte lineage cells first decreased between P8 and P22 through Sox17-mediated increase in apoptotic cell death, and thereafter significantly exceeded WT levels from P30 when cell death had ceased. CNP-Sox17 mice showed increased Gli2 protein levels and Gli2+ cells in WM, indicating that Sox17 promotes the generation of oligodendrocyte lineage cells through Hedgehog signaling. Sox17 overexpression prevented cell loss after lysolecithin-induced demyelination by increasing Olig2+ and CC1+ cells in response to injury. Furthermore, Sox17 overexpression abolished the injury-induced increase in TCF7L2/TCF4+ cells, and protected oligodendrocytes from apoptosis by preventing decreases in Gli2 and Bcl-2 expression that were observed in WT lesions. Our study thus reveals a biphasic effect of Sox17 overexpression on cell survival and oligodendrocyte formation in the developing WM, and that its potentiation of oligodendrocyte survival in the adult confers resistance to injury and myelin loss. This study demonstrates that overexpression of this transcription factor might be a viable protective strategy to mitigate the consequences of demyelination in the adult WM.
PMCID: PMC3721852  PMID: 23884956
Neuron glia biology  2008;4(2):71.
During development, multipotent neural precursors give rise to oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), which migrate and divide to produce additional OPCs. Near the end of embryogenesis and during postnatal stages, many OPCs stop dividing and differentiate as myelinating oligodendrocytes, whereas others persist as nonmyelinating cells. Investigations of oligodendrocyte development in mice indicated that the Nkx2.2 transcription factor both limits the number of OPCs that are formed and subsequently promotes their differentiation, raising the possibility that Nkx2.2 plays a key role in determining myelinating versus nonmyelinating fate. We used in vivo time-lapse imaging and loss-of-function experiments in zebrafish to further explore formation and differentiation of oligodendrocyte lineage cells. Our data show that newly specified OPCs are heterogeneous with respect to gene expression and fate. Whereas some OPCs express the nkx2.2a gene and differentiate as oligodendrocytes, others that do not express nkx2.2a mostly remain as nonmyelinating OPCs. Similarly to mouse, loss of nkx2.2a function results in excess OPCs and delayed oligodendrocyte differentiation. Notably, excess OPCs are formed as a consequence of prolonged OPC production from neural precursor cells. We conclude that Nkx2.2 promotes timely specification and differentiation of myelinating oligodendrocyte lineage cells from species representing different vertebrate taxa.
PMCID: PMC2821284  PMID: 19737431
Olig2; zebrafish; neural precursors; glia
The European journal of neuroscience  2011;34(12):1906-1922.
Oligodendrocytes – best known for assembling central nervous system myelin – can be categorized as precursors, myelin-forming cells and non-myelinating perineuronal cells. Perineuronal oligodendrocytes have been well characterized morphologically and ultrastructurally, but knowledge about their function remains scanty. It has been proposed that perineuronal oligodendrocytes support neurons and, following injury, transform into myelin-synthesizing cells. Recent findings implicating perineuronal oligodendrocytes in cytoarchitectural abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders shed new light on these cells. We have obtained the genetic signature of perineuronal oligodendrocytes by identifying gene expression differences between oligodendrocyte subpopulations using cell-specific tags, microarray technology, quantitative time-resolved polymerase chain reaction and bioinformatics tools. We show that perineuronal cells are the progeny of oligodendrocyte progenitors and, hence, are members of the oligodendrocyte lineage. Physiologically they exhibit a novel phenotype. Their expression of PDGFR-αβ and its growth factor ligand PDGF-CC sets them apart from members of their lineage as this receptor precludes their response to the same growth factors that act on myelinating cells. Their coordinate expression and context-specific usage of transcription factors Olig2, Ascl1 and Pax6, together with the prominent presence of transcription factors Pea3, Lhx2 and Otx2 – not hitherto linked to the oligodendrocyte lineage – suggested a cell with features that blur the boundary between a neuron and a glial cell. But they also maintain a reservoir of untranslated transcripts encoding major myelin proteins presumably for a demyelinating episode. This first molecular characterization of perineuronal oligodendrocytes revealed the striking difference between the myelinating and non-myelinating phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC4286392  PMID: 22132705
cell fate specification; glial cells; oligodendrocyte–neuron interaction; rat; remyelination; signaling; transcription factors
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0128007.
Neonatal white matter injury (nWMI) is an increasingly common cause of cerebral palsy that results predominantly from hypoxic injury to progenitor cells including those of the oligodendrocyte lineage. Existing mouse models of nWMI utilize prolonged periods of hypoxia during the neonatal period, require complex cross-fostering and exhibit poor growth and high mortality rates. Abnormal CNS myelin composition serves as the major explanation for persistent neuro-motor deficits. Here we developed a simplified model of nWMI with low mortality rates and improved growth without cross-fostering. Neonatal mice are exposed to low oxygen from postnatal day (P) 3 to P7, which roughly corresponds to the period of human brain development between gestational weeks 32 and 36. CNS hypomyelination is detectable for 2–3 weeks post injury and strongly correlates with levels of body and brain weight loss. Immediately following hypoxia treatment, cell death was evident in multiple brain regions, most notably in superficial and deep cortical layers as well as the subventricular zone progenitor compartment. PDGFαR, Nkx2.2, and Olig2 positive oligodendrocyte progenitor cell were significantly reduced until postnatal day 27. In addition to CNS dysmyelination we identified a novel pathological marker for adult hypoxic animals that strongly correlates with life-long neuro-motor deficits. Mice reared under hypoxia reveal an abnormal spinal neuron composition with increased small and medium diameter axons and decreased large diameter axons in thoracic lateral and anterior funiculi. Differences were particularly pronounced in white matter motor tracts left and right of the anterior median fissure. Our findings suggest that 4 days of exposure to hypoxia are sufficient to induce experimental nWMI in CD1 mice, thus providing a model to test new therapeutics. Pathological hallmarks of this model include early cell death, decreased OPCs and hypomyelination in early postnatal life, followed by dysmyelination, abnormal spinal neuron composition, and neuro-motor deficits in adulthood.
PMCID: PMC4447462  PMID: 26020269
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55149.
Promotion of remyelination is a major goal in treating demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The recombinant human monoclonal IgM, rHIgM22, targets myelin and oligodendrocytes (OLs) and promotes remyelination in animal models of MS. It is unclear whether rHIgM22-mediated stimulation of lesion repair is due to promotion of oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) proliferation and survival, OPC differentiation into myelinating OLs or protection of mature OLs. It is also unknown whether astrocytes or microglia play a functional role in IgM-mediated lesion repair.
We assessed the effect of rHIgM22 on cell proliferation in mixed CNS glial and OPC cultures by tritiated-thymidine uptake and by double-label immunocytochemistry using the proliferation marker, Ki-67. Antibody-mediated signaling events, OPC differentiation and OPC survival were investigated and quantified by Western blots.
rHIgM22 stimulates OPC proliferation in mixed glial cultures but not in purified OPCs. There is no proliferative response in astrocytes or microglia. rHIgM22 activates PDGFαR in OPCs in mixed glial cultures. Blocking PDGFR-kinase inhibits rHIgM22-mediated OPC proliferation in mixed glia. We confirm in isolated OPCs that rHIgM22-mediated anti-apoptotic signaling and inhibition of OPC differentiation requires PDGF and FGF-2. We observed no IgM-mediated effect in mature OLs in the absence of PDGF and FGF-2.
Stimulation of OPC proliferation by rHIgM22 depends on co-stimulatory astrocytic and/or microglial factors. We demonstrate that rHIgM22-mediated activation of PDGFαR is required for stimulation of OPC proliferation. We propose that rHIgM22 lowers the PDGF threshold required for OPC proliferation and protection, which can result in remyelination of CNS lesions.
PMCID: PMC3562326  PMID: 23383310
Glia  2007;55(4):400-411.
Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) has been shown to be a potent agent in promoting the growth and differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursors, and in stimulating myelination during development and following injury. To definitively determine whether IGF-I acts directly on the cells of oligodendrocyte lineage, we generated lines of mice in which the type 1 IGF receptor gene (igf1r) was conditionally ablated either in Olig1 or proteolipid protein expressing cells (termed IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko and IGF1Roligo-ko mice, respectively). Compared to wild type mice, IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko mice had a decreased volume (by 35% to 55 %) and cell number (by 54% to 70%) in the corpus callosum (CC) and anterior commissure at 2 and 6 weeks of age, respectively. IGF1Roligo-ko mice by 25 weeks of age also showed reductions, albeit less marked, in CC volume and cell number. Unlike astrocytes, the percentage of NG2+ oligodendrocyte precursors was decreased by ~13% in 2-week-old IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko mice, while the percentage of CC1+ mature oligodendrocytes was decreased by ~24% in 6-week-old IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko mice and ~25% in 25-week-old IGF1Roligo-ko mice. The reduction in these cells is apparently a result of decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis. These results indicate that IGF-I directly affects oligodendrocytes and myelination in vivo via IGF1R, and that IGF1R signaling in the cells of oligodendrocyte lineage is required for normal oligodendrocyte development and myelination. These data also provide a fundamental basis for developing strategies with the potential to target IGF-IGF1R signaling pathways in oligodendrocyte lineage cells for the treatment of demyelinating disorders.
PMCID: PMC1774584  PMID: 17186502
IGF-I; IGF1R; Olig1; PLP; MBP; mutant mice; oligodendrocyte precursors
Stem Cells and Development  2011;21(11):1838-1851.
Oligodendrogenesis encompasses lineage specification of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and differentiation into oligodendrocytes that ultimately culminates in the myelination of central nervous system axons. Each individual process must be tightly regulated by extracellular and cell-intrinsic mechanisms, whose identities are barely understood. We had previously demonstrated that soluble factors derived from rat mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) induce oligodendrogenesis in differentiating adult NPCs under differentiation conditions. However, since lineage specification predominantly occurs in proliferating progenitors and not necessarily during early differentiation, we investigated if soluble factors derived from MSCs are able to prime NPCs to the oligodendroglial fate already under proliferation conditions. Therefore, we analyzed the effects of a 3 weeks stimulation of adult NPCs under proliferation conditions with conditioned media derived from MSCs (MSC-CM) in terms of cell morphology, proliferation, cell-specific marker expression profile, response to growth factor withdrawal (GFW), cell-lineage restriction, and expression of glial fate determinants. While MSC-CM did not affect the proliferation rate of NPCs, it boosted the formation of 2′, 3′-cyclic-nucleotide-3′-phosphodieesterase (CNPase)- and myelin basic protein-expressing oligodendrocytes after GFW, even when cells were exposed to an astrogenic milieu. Moreover, it reinforced the proper development of oligodendrocytes, since it ensured a sustained expression of the functional marker CNPase. Finally, the presence of MSC-CM reduced the anti-oligodendrogenic determinant Id2 in proliferating NPCs, thus increasing the relative proportion of the pro-oligodendrogenic factor Olig2 expression. In summary, MSCs prime proliferating progenitors and, thus, reinforce cell fate choice and accelerate differentiation toward the oligodendrocyte lineage. The present findings underscore the potential use of MSCs in cell therapies for remyelination such as in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Moreover, they urge the identification of the oligodendrogenic activity(ies) derived from MSCs to develop novel molecular therapies for demyelinating diseases.
PMCID: PMC3396148  PMID: 22074360
The Journal of Cell Biology  1989;109(5):2405-2416.
C57 BL/6N mice injected intracranially with the A59 strain of mouse hepatitis virus exhibit extensive viral replication in glial cells of the spinal cord and develop demyelinating lesions followed by virus clearing and remyelination. To study how different glial cell types are affected by the disease process, we combine three-color immunofluorescence labeling with tritiated thymidine autoradiography on 1-micron frozen sections of spinal cord. We use three different glial cell specific antibodies (a) to 2',3' cyclic-nucleotide 3' phosphohydrolase (CNP) expressed by oligodendrocytes, (b) to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expressed by astrocytes, and (c) the O4 antibody which binds to O-2A progenitor cells in the rat. These progenitor cells, which give rise to oligodendrocytes and type 2 astrocytes and react with the O4 antibody in the adult central nervous system, were present but rare in the spinal cord of uninfected mice. In contrast, cells with the O-2A progenitor phenotype (O4 + only) were increased in number at one week post viral inoculation (1 WPI) and were the only immunostained cells labeled at that time by a 2-h in vivo pulse of tritiated thymidine. Both GFAP+ only and GFAP+, O4+ astrocytes were also increased in the spinal cord at 1 WPI. Between two and four WPI, the infected spinal cord was characterized by the loss of (CNP+, O4+) oligodendrocytes within demyelinating lesions and the presence of O-2A progenitor cells and O4+, GFAP+ astrocytes, both of which could be labeled with thymidine. As remyelination proceeded, CNP immunostaining returned to near normal and tritiated thymidine injected previously during the demyelinating phase now appeared in CNP+ oligodendrocytes. Thus O4 positive O-2A progenitor cells proliferate early in the course of the demyelinating disease, while CNP positive oligodendrocytes do not. The timing of events suggests that the O-2A progenitors may give rise to new oligodendrocytes and to type 2 astrocytes, both of which are likely to be instrumental in the remyelination process.
PMCID: PMC2115831  PMID: 2553746
Glia  2010;58(15):1827-1837.
Oligodendrocyte lineage cells are susceptible to a variety of insults including hypoxia, excitotoxicity, and reactive oxygen species. Demyelination is a well-recognized feature of several CNS disorders including multiple sclerosis, white matter strokes, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, and disorders due to mitochondrial DNA mutations. Although mitochondria have been implicated in the demise of oligodendrocyte lineage cells, the consequences of mitochondrial respiratory chain defects have not been examined. We determine the in vitro impact of established inhibitors of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV or cytochrome c oxidase on oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and mature oligodendrocytes as well as on differentiation capacity of OPCs from P0 rat. Injury to mature oligodendrocytes following complex IV inhibition was significantly greater than to OPCs, judged by cell detachment and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) changes, although viability of cells that remained attached was not compromised. Active mitochondria were abundant in processes of differentiated oligodendrocytes and MMP was significantly greater in differentiated oligodendrocytes than OPCs. MMP dissipated following complex IV inhibition in oligodendrocytes. Furthermore, complex IV inhibition impaired process formation within oligodendrocyte lineage cells. Injury to and impaired process formation of oligodendrocytes following complex IV inhibition has potentially important implications for the pathogenesis and repair of CNS myelin disorders. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
PMCID: PMC3580049  PMID: 20665559
mitochondria; oligodendrocytes; cytochrome c oxidase
Neurobiology of disease  2011;45(1):196-205.
The adult mammalian brain contains multiple populations of endogenous progenitor cell types. However, following CNS trauma or disease, the regenerative capacity of progenitor populations is typically insufficient and may actually be limited by non-permissive or inhibitory signals in the damaged parenchyma. Remyelination is the most effective and simplest regenerative process in the adult CNS yet is still insufficient following repeated or chronic demyelination. Our previous in vitro studies demonstrated that fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) signaling inhibited oligodendrocyte progenitor (OP) differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes. Therefore, we questioned whether FGFR1 signaling may inhibit the capacity of OP cells to generate oligodendrocytes in a demyelinating disease model and whether genetically reducing FGFR1 signaling in oligodendrocyte lineage cells could enhance the capacity for remyelination. FGFR1 was found to be upregulated in the corpus callosum during cuprizone mediated demyelination and expressed on OP cells just prior to remyelination. Plp/CreERT:Fgfr1fl/flmice were administered tamoxifen to induce conditional Fgfr1 deletion in oligodendrocyte lineage cells. Tamoxifen administration during chronic demyelination resulted in reduced FGFR1 expression in OP cells. OP proliferation and population size were not altered one week after tamoxifen treatment. Tamoxifen was then administered during chronic demyelination and mice were given a six week recovery period without cuprizone in the chow. After the recovery period, OP numbers were reduced and the number of mature oligodendrocytes was increased, indicating an effect of FGFR1 reduction on OP differentiation. Importantly, tamoxifen administration in Plp/CreERT:Fgfr1fl/fl mice significantly promoted remyelination and axon integrity. These results demonstrate a direct effect of FGFR1 signaling in oligodendrocyte lineage cells as inhibiting the repair capacity of OP cells following chronic demyelination in the adult CNS.
PMCID: PMC3225566  PMID: 21854849
oligodendrocyte; progenitor; regeneration; remyelination; fibroblast growth factor; platelet-derived growth factor; cuprizone; differentiation; demyelination; multiple sclerosis; axon damage
Glia  2012;60(10):1605-1618.
During development, progenitors that are committed to differentiate into oligodendrocytes, the myelinating cells of the central nervous system (CNS), are generated within discrete regions of the neuroepithelium. More specifically, within the developing spinal cord and hindbrain ventrally located progenitor cells that are characterized by the expression of the transcription factor olig2 give temporally rise to first motor neurons and then oligodendrocyte progenitors. The regulation of this temporal neuron-glial switch has been found complex and little is known about the extrinsic factors regulating it. Our studies described here identified a zebrafish ortholog to mammalian atx, which displays evolutionarily conserved expression pattern characteristics. Most interestingly, atx was found to be expressed by cells of the cephalic floor plate during a time period when ventrally-derived oligodendrocyte progenitors arise in the developing hindbrain of the zebrafish. Knock-down of atx expression resulted in a delay and/or inhibition of the timely appearance of oligodendrocyte progenitors and subsequent developmental stages of the oligodendrocyte lineage. This effect of atx knock-down was not accompanied by changes in the number of olig2-positive progenitor cells, the overall morphology of the axonal network or the number of somatic abducens motor neurons. Thus, our studies identified Atx as an extrinsic factor that is likely secreted by cells from the floor plate and that is involved in regulating specifically the progression of olig2-positive progenitor cells into lineage committed oligodendrocyte progenitors.
PMCID: PMC3422414  PMID: 22821873
myelination; glia differentiation; CNS development; floor plate; zebrafish
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(10):3767-3778.
The protein tyrosine phosphatase Shp2 (PTPN11) is crucial for normal brain development and has been implicated in dorsal telencephalic neuronal and astroglia cell fate decisions. However, its roles in the ventral telencephalon and during oligodendrogenesis in the telencephalon remain largely unknown. Shp2 gain-of-function (GOF) mutations are observed in Noonan syndrome, a type of RASopathy associated with multiple phenotypes, including cardiovascular, craniofacial, and neurocognitive abnormalities. To gain insight into requirements for Shp2 (LOF) and the impact of abnormal Shp2 GOF mutations, we used a Shp2 conditional mutant allele (LOF) and a cre inducible Shp2-Q79R GOF transgenic mouse in combination with Olig2cre/+ mice to target embryonic ventral telencephalic progenitors and the oligodendrocyte lineage. In the absence of Shp2 (LOF), neuronal cell types originating from progenitors in the ventral telencephalon were generated, but oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) generation was severely impaired. Late embryonic and postnatal Shp2 cKOs showed defects in the generation of OPCs throughout the telencephalon and subsequent reductions in white matter myelination. Conversely, transgenic expression of the Shp2 GOF Noonan syndrome mutation resulted in elevated OPC numbers in the embryo and postnatal brain. Interestingly, expression of this mutation negatively influenced myelination as mice displayed abnormal myelination and fewer myelinated axons in the white matter despite elevated OPC numbers. Increased proliferating OPCs and elevated MAPK activity were also observed during oligodendrogenesis after expression of Shp2 GOF mutation. These results support the notion that appropriate Shp2 activity levels control the number as well as the differentiation of oligodendrocytes during development.
PMCID: PMC3942589  PMID: 24599474
oligodendrocyte; Shp2
Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) is an extracellular protein and endogenous regulator of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) secreted by astrocytes in response to CNS myelin injury. We have previously reported that adult TIMP-1KO mice exhibit poor myelin repair following demyelinating injury. This observation led us to hypothesize a role for TIMP-1 in oligodendrogenesis and CNS myelination. Herein, we demonstrate that compact myelin formation is significantly delayed in TIMP-1KO mice which coincided with dramatically reduced numbers of white matter astrocytes in the developing CNS. Analysis of differentiation in CNS progenitor cells (neurosphere) cultures from TIMP-1KO mice revealed a specific deficit of NG2+ oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. Application of rmTIMP-1 to TIMP-1KO neurosphere cultures evoked a dose-dependent increase in NG2+ cell numbers, while treatment with GM6001, a potent broad spectrum MMP inhibitor did not. Similarly, administration of recombinant murine TIMP-1 (rmTIMP-1) to A2B5+ immunopanned oligodendrocyte progenitors significantly increased the number of differentiated O1+ oligodendrocytes, while antisera to TIMP-1 reduced oligodendrocyte numbers. We also determined that A2B5+ oligodendrocyte progenitors grown in conditioned media derived from TIMP-1KO primary glial cultures resulted in reduced differentiation of mature O1+ oligodendrocytes. Finally, we report that addition of rmTIMP-1 to primary glial cultures resulted in a dose-dependent proliferative response of astrocytes. Together, these findings describe a previously uncharacterized role for TIMP-1 in the regulation of oligodendrocytes and astrocytes during development and provide a novel function for TIMP-1 on myelination in the developing CNS.
PMCID: PMC3090636  PMID: 21508247
metalloproteinase; astrocyte; oligodendrocyte progenitor cell
Myelin is a biologically active membrane receiving and processing signals from axons. Whereas, much is known about its structure and molecular composition, the intracellular signal transduction pathways, active during specific phases of myelinogenesis for regulating myelin formation remain poorly understood. Recent genetic loss-of-function studies have suggested a key role of extracelluar-signal-regulated-kinases-1 and -2 (ERK1/2), downstream mediators of mitogen-activated-protein-kinases (MAPKs), in promoting CNS and PNS myelination. In contrast, other studies, largely in vitro, have suggested that activation of ERK1/2 pathway can be detrimental for glial cell function and myelination. Given these conflicting reports, we investigated the effects of cell-autonomous activation of ERK1/2 in glial cells during developmental myelination in the intact CNS and PNS. Two lines of transgenic mice with sustained activation of ERK1/2 in oligodendrocyte progenitors (OPCs), oligodendrocytes, and Schwann cells were generated. Consistent with our loss-of-function studies, gain of ERK1/2 function in oligodendrocyte-lineage cells significantly increased myelin thickness, independent of oligodendrocyte differentiation or initiation of myelination. Additionally, increased activation of ERK1/2 in OPCs during early development resulted in transient hyper-proliferation and overproduction of OPCs, but generation of normal numbers of myelinating oligodendrocytes. Thus, these in vivo studies suggest a beneficial biphasic requirement of ERK1/2 during developmental myelination in the CNS, deployed first during early stages of the oligodendrocyte lineage for promoting OPC expansion and then redeployed later in myelinating oligodendrocytes for promoting myelin growth. Furthermore, Schwann cells with activated ERK1/2 hypermyelinate PNS axons, suggesting that ERK1/2 signaling is a conserved mechanism that promotes both CNS and PNS developmental myelination.
PMCID: PMC3711773  PMID: 23283332
oligodendrocyte; myelin; Schwann cells
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80975.
Spinal cord injury is a debilitating neurological disorder that initiates a cascade of cellular events that result in a period of secondary damage that can last for months after the initial trauma. The ensuing outcome of these prolonged cellular perturbations is the induction of neuronal and glial cell death through excitotoxic mechanisms and subsequent free radical production. We have previously shown that astrocytes can directly induce oligodendrocyte death following trauma, but the mechanisms regulating this process within the oligodendrocyte remain unclear. Here we provide evidence demonstrating that astrocytes directly regulate oligodendrocyte death after trauma by inducing activation of NADPH oxidase within oligodendrocytes. Spinal cord injury resulted in a significant increase in oxidative damage which correlated with elevated expression of the gp91 phox subunit of the NADPH oxidase enzyme. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the presence of gp91 phox in oligodendrocytes in vitro and at 1 week following spinal cord injury. Exposure of oligodendrocytes to media from injured astrocytes resulted in an increase in oligodendrocyte NADPH oxidase activity. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase activation was sufficient to attenuate oligodendrocyte death in vitro and at 1 week following spinal cord injury, suggesting that excitotoxicity of oligodendrocytes after trauma is dependent on the intrinsic activation of the NADPH oxidase enzyme. Acute administration of the NADPH oxidase inhibitor apocynin and the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate channel blocker 2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoyl-benzo[f]quinoxaline-2,3-dione significantly improved locomotor behavior and preserved descending axon fibers following spinal cord injury. These studies lead to a better understanding of oligodendrocyte death after trauma and identify potential therapeutic targets in disorders involving demyelination and oligodendrocyte death.
PMCID: PMC3834306  PMID: 24260524
Two recently generated targeted mouse alleles of the neurogenic gene Ascl1 were utilized in order to characterize cerebellum circuit formation. First, genetic inducible fate mapping (GIFM) with an Ascl1CreER allele was found to specifically mark all glial and neuron cell types that arise from the ventricular zone (vz). Moreover, each cell type has a unique temporal profile of marking with Ascl1CreER GIFM. Of great utility, Purkinje cells (Pcs), an early cohort of Bergmann glia, and four classes of GABAergic interneurons can be genetically birthdated during embryogenesis using Ascl1CreER GIFM. Astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in contrast express Ascl1CreER throughout their proliferative phase in the white matter. Interestingly, the final position each neuron type acquires differs depending on when it expresses Ascl1. Interneurons (including candelabrum) attain a more outside position the later they express Ascl1, whereas Pcs have distinct settling patterns each day they express Ascl1. Second, using a conditional Ascl1 allele we discovered that Ascl1 is differentially required for generation of most vz-derived cells. Mice lacking Ascl1 in the cerebellum have a major decrease in three types of interneurons with a tendency towards a loss of later born interneurons, as well as an imbalance of oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. Double mutant analysis indicates that a related helix-loop-helix protein, Ptf1a, functions with Ascl1 in generating interneurons and Pcs. By fate mapping vz-derived cells in Ascl1 mutants, we further discovered that Ascl1 plays a specific role during the time period when Pcs are generated in restricting vz progenitors from becoming rhombic lip progenitors.
PMCID: PMC3153985  PMID: 21795554
GIFM; birth dating; Mash1; Purkinje cells; interneurons; candelabrum interneuron

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