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1.  Degeneration and impaired regeneration of gray matter oligodendrocytes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Nature neuroscience  2013;16(5):571-579.
Oligodendrocytes associate with axons to establish myelin and provide metabolic support to neurons. In the spinal cord of ALS mice, oligodendrocytes downregulate transporters that transfer glycolytic substrates to neurons and oligodendrocyte progenitors (NG2+ cells) exhibit enhanced proliferation and differentiation, although the cause of these changes in oligodendroglia is unknown. Here we report that there is extensive degeneration of gray matter oligodendrocytes in the spinal cord of ALS mice before disease onset. Although new oligodendrocytes were formed, they failed to mature, resulting in progressive demyelination. Oligodendrocyte dysfunction also is prevalent in human ALS, as gray matter demyelination and reactive changes in NG2+ cells were observed in motor cortex and spinal cord of ALS patients. Selective removal of mutant SOD1 from oligodendroglia substantially delayed disease onset and prolonged survival in ALS mice, suggesting that ALS-linked genes enhance the vulnerability of motor neurons and accelerate disease by directly impairing the function of oligodendrocytes.
doi:10.1038/nn.3357
PMCID: PMC3637847  PMID: 23542689
2.  NG2+ CNS glial progenitors remain committed to the oligodendrocyte lineage in postnatal life and following neurodegeneration 
Neuron  2010;68(4):668-681.
SUMMARY
The mammalian CNS contains a ubiquitous population of glial progenitors known as NG2+ cells that have the ability to develop into oligodendrocytes and undergo dramatic changes in response to injury and demyelination. Although it has been reported that NG2+ cells are multipotent, their fate in health and disease remains controversial. Here, we generated PDGFαR-CreER transgenic mice and followed their fate in vivo in the developing and adult CNS. These studies revealed that NG2+ cells in the postnatal CNS generate myelinating oligodendrocytes, but not astrocytes or neurons. In regions of neurodegeneration in the spinal cord of ALS mice, NG2+ cells exhibited enhanced proliferation and accelerated differentiation into oligodendrocytes, but remained committed to the oligodendrocyte lineage. These results indicate that NG2+ cells in the normal CNS are oligodendrocyte precursors with restricted lineage potential, and that cell loss and gliosis are not sufficient to alter the lineage potential of these progenitors in ALS mice.
doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2010.09.009
PMCID: PMC2989827  PMID: 21092857
3.  Photon capture and signalling by melanopsin retinal ganglion cells 
Nature  2008;457(7227):281-287.
A subset of retinal ganglion cells has recently been discovered to be intrinsically photosensitive, with melanopsin as the pigment. These cells project primarily to brain centers for non-image-forming visual functions such as the pupillary light reflex and circadian photoentrainment. How well they signal intrinsic light absorption to drive behavior remains unclear. Here we report fundamental parameters governing their intrinsic light responses and associated spike generation. The membrane density of melanopsin is 104-fold lower than that of rod and cone pigments, resulting in a very low photon-catch and a phototransducing role only in relatively bright light. Nonetheless, each captured photon elicits a large and extraordinarily prolonged response, with a unique shape among known photoreceptors. Remarkably, like rods, these cells are capable of signalling single-photon absorption. A flash causing a few hundred isomerized melanopsin molecules in a retina is sufficient for reaching threshold for the pupillary light reflex.
doi:10.1038/nature07682
PMCID: PMC2794210  PMID: 19118382

Results 1-3 (3)