Oligodendrocytes control potassium accumulation in white matter and seizure susceptibility.
ABSTRACT: The inwardly rectifying K+ channel Kir4.1 is broadly expressed by CNS glia and deficits in Kir4.1 lead to seizures and myelin vacuolization. However, the role of oligodendrocyte Kir4.1 channels in controlling myelination and K+ clearance in white matter has not been defined. Here, we show that selective deletion of Kir4.1 from oligodendrocyte progenitors (OPCs) or mature oligodendrocytes did not impair their development or disrupt the structure of myelin. However, mice lacking oligodendrocyte Kir4.1 channels exhibited profound functional impairments, including slower clearance of extracellular K+ and delayed recovery of axons from repetitive stimulation in white matter, as well as spontaneous seizures, a lower seizure threshold, and activity-dependent motor deficits. These results indicate that Kir4.1 channels in oligodendrocytes play an important role in extracellular K+ homeostasis in white matter, and that selective loss of this channel from oligodendrocytes is sufficient to impair K+ clearance and promote seizures.
Project description:Inward rectifying potassium channels (Kir) are a large family of ion channels that play key roles in ion homeostasis in oligodendrocytes, the myelinating cells of the central nervous system (CNS). Prominent expression of Kir4.1 has been indicated in oligodendrocytes, but the extent of expression of other Kir subtypes is unclear. Here, we used qRT-PCR to determine expression of Kir channel transcripts in the mouse optic nerve, a white matter tract comprising myelinated axons and the glia that support them. A novel finding was the high relative expression of Kir7.1, comparable to that of Kir4.1, the main glial Kir channel. Significantly, Kir7.1 immunofluorescence labelling in optic nerve sections and in isolated cells was localised to oligodendrocyte somata. Kir7.1 are known as a K+ transporting channels and, using patch clamp electrophysiology and the Kir7.1 blocker VU590, we demonstrated Kir7.1 channels carry a significant proportion of the whole cell potassium conductance in oligodendrocytes isolated from mouse optic nerves. Notably, oligodendrocytes are highly susceptible to ischemia/hypoxia and this is due at least in part to disruption of ion homeostasis. A key finding of this study is that blockade of Kir7.1 with VU590 compromised oligodendrocyte cell integrity and compounds oligodendroglial loss in ischemia/hypoxia in the oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) model in isolated intact optic nerves. These data reveal Kir7.1 channels are molecularly and functionally expressed in oligodendrocytes and play an important role in determining oligodendrocyte survival and myelin integrity.
Project description:Glial support is critical for normal axon function and can become dysregulated in white matter (WM) disease. In humans, loss-of-function mutations of KCNJ10, which encodes the inward-rectifying potassium channel KIR4.1, causes seizures and progressive neurological decline. We investigated Kir4.1 functions in oligodendrocytes (OLs) during development, adulthood and after WM injury. We observed that Kir4.1 channels localized to perinodal areas and the inner myelin tongue, suggesting roles in juxta-axonal K+ removal. Conditional knockout (cKO) of OL-Kcnj10 resulted in late onset mitochondrial damage and axonal degeneration. This was accompanied by neuronal loss and neuro-axonal dysfunction in adult OL-Kcnj10 cKO mice as shown by delayed visual evoked potentials, inner retinal thinning and progressive motor deficits. Axon pathologies in OL-Kcnj10 cKO were exacerbated after WM injury in the spinal cord. Our findings point towards a critical role of OL-Kir4.1 for long-term maintenance of axonal function and integrity during adulthood and after WM injury.
Project description:Theiler's virus, a picornavirus, persists for life in the central nervous system of mouse and causes a demyelinating disease that is a model for multiple sclerosis. The virus infects neurons first but persists in white matter glial cells, mainly oligodendrocytes and macrophages. The mechanism, by which the virus traffics from neurons to glial cells, and the respective roles of oligodendrocytes and macrophages in persistence are poorly understood. We took advantage of our previous finding that the shiverer mouse, a mutant with a deletion in the myelin basic protein gene (Mbp), is resistant to persistent infection to examine the role of myelin in persistence. Using immune chimeras, we show that resistance is not mediated by immune responses or by an efficient recruitment of inflammatory cells into the central nervous system. With both in vivo and in vitro experiments, we show that the mutation does not impair the permissiveness of neurons, oligodendrocytes, and macrophages to the virus. We demonstrate that viral antigens are present in cytoplasmic channels of myelin during persistent infection of wild-type mice. Using the optic nerve as a model, we show that the virus traffics from the axons of retinal ganglion cells to the cytoplasmic channels of myelin, and that this traffic is impaired by the shiverer mutation. These results uncover an unsuspected axon to myelin traffic of Theiler's virus and the essential role played by the infection of myelin/oligodendrocyte in persistence.
Project description:Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin (?-toxin) is responsible for a devastating multifocal central nervous system (CNS) white matter disease in ruminant animals. The mechanism by which ?-toxin causes white matter damage is poorly understood. In this study, we sought to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which ?-toxin causes pathological changes to white matter. In primary CNS cultures, ?-toxin binds to and kills oligodendrocytes but not astrocytes, microglia, or neurons. In cerebellar organotypic culture, ?-toxin induces demyelination, which occurs in a time- and dose-dependent manner, while preserving neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. ?-Toxin specificity for oligodendrocytes was confirmed using enriched glial culture. Sensitivity to ?-toxin is developmentally regulated, as only mature oligodendrocytes are susceptible to ?-toxin; oligodendrocyte progenitor cells are not. ?-Toxin sensitivity is also dependent on oligodendrocyte expression of the proteolipid myelin and lymphocyte protein (MAL), as MAL-deficient oligodendrocytes are insensitive to ?-toxin. In addition, ?-toxin binding to white matter follows the spatial and temporal pattern of MAL expression. A neutralizing antibody against ?-toxin inhibits oligodendrocyte death and demyelination. This study provides several novel insights into the action of ?-toxin in the CNS. (i) ?-Toxin causes selective oligodendrocyte death while preserving all other neural elements. (ii) ?-Toxin-mediated oligodendrocyte death is a cell autonomous effect. (iii) The effects of ?-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 ?-toxin can be abrogated by an ?-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 (?-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 ?-toxin causes white matter disease. We find that ?-toxin specifically targets the myelin-forming cells of the central nervous system (CNS), oligodendrocytes, leading to cell death. The selectivity of ?-toxin for oligodendrocytes is remarkable, as other cells of the CNS are unaffected. Importantly, ?-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 ?-toxin within the CNS.
Project description:Oligodendrocytes, which are the main cell type in cerebral white matter, are generated from their precursor cells (oligodendrocyte precursor cells: OPCs). However, the differentiation from OPCs to oligodendrocytes is disturbed under stressed conditions. Therefore, drugs that can improve oligodendrocyte regeneration may be effective for white matter-related diseases. Here we show that a vasoactive peptide adrenomedullin (AM) promotes the in vitro differentiation of OPCs under pathological conditions. Primary OPCs were prepared from neonatal rat brains, and differentiated into myelin-basic-protein expressing oligodendrocytes over time. This in vitro OPC differentiation was inhibited by prolonged chemical hypoxic stress induced by non-lethal CoCl(2) treatment. However, AM promoted the OPC differentiation under the hypoxic stress conditions, and the AM receptor antagonist AM(22-52) canceled the AM-induced OPC differentiation. In addition, AM treatment increased the phosphorylation level of Akt in OPC cultures, and correspondingly, the PI3K/Akt inhibitor LY294002 blocked the AM-induced OPC differentiation. Taken together, AM treatment rescued OPC maturation under pathological conditions via an AM-receptor-PI3K/Akt pathway. Oligodendrocytes play critical roles in white matter by forming myelin sheath. Therefore, AM signaling may be a promising therapeutic target to boost oligodendrocyte regeneration in CNS disorders.
Project description:Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are present throughout the adult brain and spinal cord and can replace oligodendrocytes lost to injury, aging, or disease. Their differentiation, however, is inhibited by myelin debris, making clearance of this debris an important step for cellular repair following demyelination. In models of peripheral nerve injury, TLR4 activation by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) promotes macrophage phagocytosis of debris. Here we tested whether the novel synthetic TLR4 agonist E6020, a Lipid A mimetic, promotes myelin debris clearance and remyelination in spinal cord white matter following lysolecithin-induced demyelination. In vitro, E6020 induced TLR4-dependent cytokine expression (TNFα, IL1β, IL-6) and NF-κB signaling, albeit at ∼10-fold reduced potency compared to LPS. Microinjection of E6020 into the intact rat spinal cord gray/white matter border induced macrophage activation, OPC proliferation, and robust oligodendrogenesis, similar to what we described previously using an intraspinal LPS microinjection model. Finally, a single co-injection of E6020 with lysolecithin into spinal cord white matter increased axon sparing, accelerated myelin debris clearance, enhanced Schwann cell infiltration into demyelinated lesions, and increased the number of remyelinated axons. In vitro assays confirmed that direct stimulation of macrophages by E6020 stimulates myelin phagocytosis. These data implicate TLR4 signaling in promoting repair after CNS demyelination, likely by stimulating phagocytic activity of macrophages, sparing axons, recruiting myelinating cells, and promoting remyelination. This work furthers our understanding of immune-myelin interactions and identifies a novel synthetic TLR4 agonist as a potential therapeutic avenue for white matter demyelinating conditions such as spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.
Project description:The most prevalent neurological disorders of myelin include perinatal brain injury leading to cerebral palsy in infants and multiple sclerosis in adults. Although these disorders have distinct etiologies, they share a common neuropathological feature of failed progenitor differentiation into myelin-producing oligodendrocytes and lack of myelin, for which there is an unmet clinical need. Here, we reveal that a molecular pathology common to both disorders is dysregulation of activin receptors and that activin receptor signaling is required for the majority of myelin generation in development and following injury. Using a constitutive conditional knockout of all activin receptor signaling in oligodendrocyte lineage cells, we discovered this signaling to be required for myelination via regulation of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin compaction. These processes were found to be dependent on the activin receptor subtype Acvr2a, which is expressed during oligodendrocyte differentiation and axonal ensheathment in development and following myelin injury. During efficient myelin regeneration, Acvr2a upregulation was seen to coincide with downregulation of Acvr2b, a receptor subtype with relatively higher ligand affinity; Acvr2b was shown to be dispensable for activin receptor-driven oligodendrocyte differentiation and its overexpression was sufficient to impair the abovementioned ligand-driven responses. In actively myelinating or remyelinating areas of human perinatal brain injury and multiple sclerosis tissue, respectively, oligodendrocyte lineage cells expressing Acvr2a outnumbered those expressing Acvr2b, whereas in non-repairing lesions Acvr2b+ cells were increased. Thus, we propose that following human white matter injury, this increase in Acvr2b expression would sequester ligand and consequently impair Acvr2a-driven oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin formation. Our results demonstrate dysregulated activin receptor signaling in common myelin disorders and reveal Acvr2a as a novel therapeutic target for myelin generation following injury across the lifespan.
Project description:Repair of myelin injury in multiple sclerosis may fail, resulting in chronic demyelination, axonal loss, and disease progression. As cellular pathways regulated by phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN; eg, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase [PI-3K]) have been reported to enhance axon regeneration and oligodendrocyte maturation, we investigated potentially beneficial effects of Pten loss of function in the oligodendrocyte lineage on remyelination.We characterized oligodendrocyte numbers and myelin sheath thickness in mice with conditional inactivation of Pten in oligodendrocytes, Olig2-cre, Pten(fl/fl) mice. Using a model of central nervous system demyelination, lysolecithin injection into the spinal cord white matter, we performed short- and long-term lesioning experiments and quantified oligodendrocyte maturation and myelin sheath thickness in remyelinating lesions.During development, we observed dramatic hypermyelination in the corpus callosum and spinal cord. Following white matter injury, however, there was no detectable improvement in remyelination. Moreover, we observed progressive myelin sheath abnormalities and massive axon degeneration in the fasciculus gracilis of mutant animals, as indicated by ultrastructure and expression of SMI-32, amyloid precursor protein, and caspase 6.These studies indicate adverse effects of chronic Pten inactivation (and by extension, activation PI-3K signaling) on myelinating oligodendrocytes and their axonal targets. We conclude that PTEN function in oligodendrocytes is required to regulate myelin thickness and preserve axon integrity. In contrast, PTEN is dispensable during myelin repair, and its inactivation confers no detectable benefit.
Project description:Leukodystrophies are genetically determined disorders characterized by the selective involvement of the central nervous system white matter. Onset may be at any age, from prenatal life to senescence. Many leukodystrophies are degenerative in nature, but some only impair white matter function. The clinical course is mostly progressive, but may also be static or even improving with time. Progressive leukodystrophies are often fatal, and no curative treatment is known. The last decade has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of defined leukodystrophies also owing to a diagnostic approach combining magnetic resonance imaging pattern recognition and next generation sequencing. Knowledge on white matter physiology and pathology has also dramatically built up. This led to the recognition that only few leukodystrophies are due to mutations in myelin- or oligodendrocyte-specific genes, and many are rather caused by defects in other white matter structural components, including astrocytes, microglia, axons and blood vessels. We here propose a novel classification of leukodystrophies that takes into account the primary involvement of any white matter component. Categories in this classification are the myelin disorders due to a primary defect in oligodendrocytes or myelin (hypomyelinating and demyelinating leukodystrophies, leukodystrophies with myelin vacuolization); astrocytopathies; leuko-axonopathies; microgliopathies; and leuko-vasculopathies. Following this classification, we illustrate the neuropathology and disease mechanisms of some leukodystrophies taken as example for each category. Some leukodystrophies fall into more than one category. Given the complex molecular and cellular interplay underlying white matter pathology, recognition of the cellular pathology behind a disease becomes crucial in addressing possible treatment strategies.
Project description:The myelin sheaths wrapped around axons by oligodendrocytes are crucial for brain function. In ischaemia myelin is damaged in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner, abolishing action potential propagation. This has been attributed to glutamate release activating Ca(2+)-permeable N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Surprisingly, we now show that NMDA does not raise the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]i) in mature oligodendrocytes and that, although ischaemia evokes a glutamate-triggered membrane current, this is generated by a rise of extracellular [K(+)] and decrease of membrane K(+) conductance. Nevertheless, ischaemia raises oligodendrocyte [Ca(2+)]i, [Mg(2+)]i and [H(+)]i, and buffering intracellular pH reduces the [Ca(2+)]i and [Mg(2+)]i increases, showing that these are evoked by the rise of [H(+)]i. The H(+)-gated [Ca(2+)]i elevation is mediated by channels with characteristics of TRPA1, being inhibited by ruthenium red, isopentenyl pyrophosphate, HC-030031, A967079 or TRPA1 knockout. TRPA1 block reduces myelin damage in ischaemia. These data suggest that TRPA1-containing ion channels could be a therapeutic target in white matter ischaemia.