Oligodendrocytes as regulators of neuronal networks during early postnatal development.
ABSTRACT: Oligodendrocytes are the glial cells responsible for myelin formation. Myelination occurs during the first postnatal weeks and, in rodents, is completed during the third week after birth. Myelin ensures the fast conduction of the nerve impulse; in the adult, myelin proteins have an inhibitory role on axon growth and regeneration after injury. During brain development, oligodendrocytes precursors originating in multiple locations along the antero-posterior axis actively proliferate and migrate to colonize the whole brain. Whether the initial interactions between oligodendrocytes and neurons might play a functional role before the onset of myelination is still not completely elucidated. In this article, we addressed this question by transgenically targeted ablation of proliferating oligodendrocytes during cerebellum development. Interestingly, we show that depletion of oligodendrocytes at postnatal day 1 (P1) profoundly affects the establishment of cerebellar circuitries. We observed an impressive deregulation in the expression of molecules involved in axon growth, guidance and synaptic plasticity. These effects were accompanied by an outstanding increase of neurofilament staining observed 4 hours after the beginning of the ablation protocol, likely dependent from sprouting of cerebellar fibers. Oligodendrocyte ablation modifies localization and function of ionotropic glutamate receptors in Purkinje neurons. These results show a novel oligodendrocyte function expressed during early postnatal brain development, where these cells participate in the formation of cerebellar circuitries, and influence its development.
Project description:Oligodendrogenesis occurs during early postnatal development, coincident with neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, raising the possibility that microglia-dependent pruning mechanisms that modulate neurons regulate myelin sheath formation. Here we show a population of ameboid microglia migrating from the ventricular zone into the corpus callosum during early postnatal development, termed "the fountain of microglia," phagocytosing viable oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) before onset of myelination. Fractalkine receptor-deficient mice exhibit a reduction in microglial engulfment of viable OPCs, increased numbers of oligodendrocytes, and reduced myelin thickness but no change in axon number. These data provide evidence that microglia phagocytose OPCs as a homeostatic mechanism for proper myelination. A hallmark of hypomyelinating developmental disorders such as periventricular leukomalacia and of adult demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis is increased numbers of oligodendrocytes but failure to myelinate, suggesting that microglial pruning of OPCs may be impaired in pathological states and hinder myelination.
Project description:Background In the developing central nervous system, pre-myelinating oligodendrocytes sample candidate nerve axons by extending and retracting process extensions. Some contacts stabilize, leading to the initiation of axon wrapping, nascent myelin sheath formation, concentric wrapping and sheath elongation, and sheath stabilization or pruning by oligodendrocytes. Although axonal signals influence the overall process of myelination, the precise oligodendrocyte behaviors that require signaling from axons are not completely understood. In this study, we investigated whether oligodendrocyte behaviors during the early events of myelination are mediated by an oligodendrocyte-intrinsic myelination program or are over-ridden by axonal factors. Methods To address this, we utilized in vivo time-lapse imaging in embryonic and larval zebrafish spinal cord during the initial hours and days of axon wrapping and myelination. Transgenic reporter lines marked individual axon subtypes or oligodendrocyte membranes. Results In the larval zebrafish spinal cord, individual axon subtypes supported distinct nascent sheath growth rates and stabilization frequencies. Oligodendrocytes ensheathed individual axon subtypes at different rates during a two-day period after initial axon wrapping. When descending reticulospinal axons were ablated, local spinal axons supported a constant ensheathment rate despite the increased ratio of oligodendrocytes to target axons. Conclusion We conclude that properties of individual axon subtypes instruct oligodendrocyte behaviors during initial stages of myelination by differentially controlling nascent sheath growth and stabilization.
Project description:In the vertebrate nervous system, myelination of axons for rapid impulse propagation requires the synthesis of large amounts of lipids and proteins by oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells. Myelin membranes are thought to be cell-autonomously assembled by these axon-associated glial cells. Here, we report the surprising finding that in normal brain development, a substantial fraction of the lipids incorporated into central nervous system (CNS) myelin are contributed by astrocytes. The oligodendrocyte-specific inactivation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) cleavage-activating protein (SCAP), an essential coactivator of the transcription factor SREBP and thus of lipid biosynthesis, resulted in significantly retarded CNS myelination; however, myelin appeared normal at 3 months of age. Importantly, embryonic deletion of the same gene in astrocytes, or in astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, caused a persistent hypomyelination, as did deletion from astrocytes during postnatal development. Moreover, when astroglial lipid synthesis was inhibited, oligodendrocytes began incorporating circulating lipids into myelin membranes. Indeed, a lipid-enriched diet was sufficient to rescue hypomyelination in these conditional mouse mutants. We conclude that lipid synthesis by oligodendrocytes is heavily supplemented by astrocytes in vivo and that horizontal lipid flux is a major feature of normal brain development and myelination.
Project description:Destruction of oligodendrocytes and myelin sheaths in cortical gray matter profoundly alters neural activity and is associated with cognitive disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). Myelin can be restored by regenerating oligodendrocytes from resident progenitors; however, it is not known whether regeneration restores the complex myelination patterns in cortical circuits. Here, we performed time lapse in vivo two photon imaging in somatosensory cortex of adult mice to define the kinetics and specificity of myelin regeneration after acute oligodendrocyte ablation. These longitudinal studies revealed that the pattern of myelination in cortex changed dramatically after regeneration, as new oligodendrocytes were formed in different locations and new sheaths were often established along axon segments previously lacking myelin. Despite the dramatic increase in axonal territory available, oligodendrogenesis was persistently impaired in deeper cortical layers that experienced higher gliosis. Repeated reorganization of myelin patterns in MS may alter circuit function and contribute to cognitive decline.
Project description:The transcriptional control of CNS myelin gene expression is poorly understood. Here we identify gene model 98, which we have named myelin gene regulatory factor (MRF), as a transcriptional regulator required for CNS myelination. Within the CNS, MRF is specifically expressed by postmitotic oligodendrocytes. MRF is a nuclear protein containing an evolutionarily conserved DNA binding domain homologous to a yeast transcription factor. Knockdown of MRF in oligodendrocytes by RNA interference prevents expression of most CNS myelin genes; conversely, overexpression of MRF within cultured oligodendrocyte progenitors or the chick spinal cord promotes expression of myelin genes. In mice lacking MRF within the oligodendrocyte lineage, premyelinating oligodendrocytes are generated but display severe deficits in myelin gene expression and fail to myelinate. These mice display severe neurological abnormalities and die because of seizures during the third postnatal week. These findings establish MRF as a critical transcriptional regulator essential for oligodendrocyte maturation and CNS myelination.
Project description:Myelin, rather than being a static insulator of axons, is emerging as an active participant in circuit plasticity. This requires precise regulation of oligodendrocyte numbers and myelination patterns. Here, by devising a laser ablation approach of single oligodendrocytes, followed by in vivo imaging and correlated ultrastructural reconstructions, we report that in mouse cortex demyelination as subtle as the loss of a single oligodendrocyte can trigger robust cell replacement and remyelination timed by myelin breakdown. This results in reliable reestablishment of the original myelin pattern along continuously myelinated axons, while in parallel, patchy isolated internodes emerge on previously unmyelinated axons. Therefore, in mammalian cortex, internodes along partially myelinated cortical axons are typically not reestablished, suggesting that the cues that guide patchy myelination are not preserved through cycles of de- and remyelination. In contrast, myelin sheaths forming continuous patterns show remarkable homeostatic resilience and remyelinate with single axon precision.
Project description:The molecular requirements for human myelination are incompletely defined, and further study is needed to fully understand the cellular mechanisms involved during development and in demyelinating diseases. We have established a human co-culture model to study myelination. Our earlier observations showed that addition of human ?-carboxylated growth-arrest-specific protein 6 (Gas6) to human oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) cultures enhanced their survival and maturation. Therefore, we explored the effect of Gas6 in co-cultures of enriched OPCs plated on axons of human fetal dorsal root ganglia explant. Gas6 significantly enhanced the number of myelin basic protein-positive (MBP+) oligodendrocytes with membranous processes parallel with and ensheathing axons relative to co-cultures maintained in defined medium only for 14 days. Gas6 did not increase the overall number of MBP+ oligodendrocytes/culture; however, it significantly increased the length of MBP+ oligodendrocyte processes in contact with and wrapping axons. Multiple oligodendrocytes were in contact with a single axon, and several processes from one oligodendrocyte made contact with one or multiple axons. Electron microscopy supported confocal Z-series microscopy demonstrating axonal ensheathment by MBP+ oligodendrocyte membranous processes in Gas6-treated co-cultures. Contacts between the axonal and oligodendrocyte membranes were evident and multiple wraps of oligodendrocyte membrane around the axon were visible supporting a model system in which to study events in human myelination and aspects of non-compact myelin formation.
Project description:Myelination is an essential process that consists of the ensheathment of axons by myelin. In the central nervous system (CNS), myelin is synthesized by oligodendrocytes. The proliferation, migration, and differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells constitute a prerequisite before mature oligodendrocytes extend their processes around the axons and progressively generate a multilamellar lipidic sheath. Although myelination is predominately driven by oligodendrocytes, the other glial cells including astrocytes and microglia, also contribute to this process. The present review is an update of the most recent emerging mechanisms involving astrocyte and microglia in myelin production. The contribution of these cells will be first described during developmental myelination that occurs in the early postnatal period and is critical for the proper development of cognition and behavior. Then, we will report the novel findings regarding the beneficial or deleterious effects of astroglia and microglia, which respectively promote or impair the endogenous capacity of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) to induce spontaneous remyelination after myelin loss. Acute delineation of astrocyte and microglia activities and cross-talk should uncover the way towards novel therapeutic perspectives aimed at recovering proper myelination during development or at breaking down the barriers impeding the regeneration of the damaged myelin that occurs in CNS demyelinating diseases.
Project description:An essential feature of vertebrate neural development is ensheathment of axons with myelin, an insulating membrane formed by oligodendrocytes. Not all axons are myelinated, but mechanisms directing myelination of specific axons are unknown. Using zebrafish, we found that activity-dependent secretion stabilized myelin sheath formation on select axons. When VAMP2-dependent exocytosis was silenced in single axons, oligodendrocytes preferentially ensheathed neighboring axons. Nascent sheaths formed on silenced axons were shorter in length, but when activity of neighboring axons was also suppressed, inhibition of sheath growth was relieved. Using in vivo time-lapse microscopy, we found that only 25% of oligodendrocyte processes that initiated axon wrapping were stabilized during normal development and that initiation did not require activity. Instead, oligodendrocyte processes wrapping silenced axons retracted more frequently. We propose that axon selection for myelination results from excessive and indiscriminate initiation of wrapping followed by refinement that is biased by activity-dependent secretion from axons.
Project description:Mutations in Cx32, a gap-junction channel-forming protein, result in X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a demyelinating disease of the peripheral nervous system. However, although oligodendrocytes express Cx32, central myelination is unaffected. To explore this discrepancy, we searched for additional oligodendrocyte connexins. We found Cx47, which is expressed specifically in oligodendrocytes, regulated in parallel with myelin genes and partially colocalized with Cx32 in oligodendrocytes. Mice lacking either Cx47 or Cx32 are viable. However, animals lacking both connexins die by postnatal week 6 from profound abnormalities in central myelin, characterized by thin or absent myelin sheaths, vacuolation, enlarged periaxonal collars, oligodendrocyte cell death, and axonal loss. These data provide the first evidence that gap-junction communication is crucial for normal central myelination.