Central Nervous System Remyelination: Roles of Glia and Innate Immune Cells.
ABSTRACT: In diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammation can injure the myelin sheath that surrounds axons, a process known as demyelination. The spontaneous regeneration of myelin, called remyelination, is associated with restoration of function and prevention of axonal degeneration. Boosting remyelination with therapeutic intervention is a promising new approach that is currently being tested in several clinical trials. The endogenous regulation of remyelination is highly dependent on the immune response. In this review article, we highlight the cell biology of remyelination and its regulation by innate immune cells. For the purpose of this review, we discuss the roles of microglia, and also astrocytes and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) as they are being increasingly recognized to have immune cell functions.
Project description:White matter injury, consisting of loss of axons, myelin, and oligodendrocytes, is common in many neurological disorders and is believed to underlie several motor and sensory deficits. Remyelination is the process in which the insulative myelin sheath is restored to axons, thereby facilitating recovery from functional loss. Remyelination proceeds with oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) that differentiate into oligodendrocytes to synthesize the new myelin sheath after demyelination. This process is influenced by several factors, including trophic factors, inhibitory molecules in the lesion microenvironment, age of the subject, as well as the inflammatory response. Currently studied strategies that enhance remyelination consist of pharmacological approaches that directly induce OPC differentiation or using agents to neutralize the inhibitory microenvironment. Another strategy is to harness a reparative inflammatory response. This response, coordinated by central nervous system resident microglia and peripherally-derived infiltrating macrophages, has been shown to be important in the remyelination process. These innate immune cells perform important functions in remyelination, including the proteolysis and phagocytosis of inhibitory molecules present in the lesion microenvironment, the provision of trophic and metabolic factors to OPCs, in addition to iron handling capacity. Additionally, an initial pro-inflammatory phase followed by a regulatory/anti-inflammatory phase has been shown to be important for OPC proliferation and differentiation, respectively. This review will discuss the beneficial roles of macrophages/microglia in remyelination and discuss therapeutic strategies to obtain the optimal regenerative macrophage phenotype for enhanced remyelination.
Project description:The inability of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) to undergo spontaneous regeneration has long been regarded as a central tenet of neurobiology. However, although this is largely true of the neuronal elements of the adult mammalian CNS, save for discrete populations of granular neurons, the same is not true of its glial elements. In particular, the loss of oligodendrocytes, which results in demyelination, triggers a spontaneous and often highly efficient regenerative response, remyelination, in which new oligodendrocytes are generated and myelin sheaths are restored to denuded axons. Yet, remyelination in humans is not without limitation, and a variety of demyelinating conditions are associated with sustained and disabling myelin loss. In this review, we will review the biology of remyelination, including the cells and signals involved; describe when remyelination occurs and when and why it fails and the consequences of its failure; and discuss approaches for therapeutically enhancing remyelination in demyelinating diseases of both children and adults, both by stimulating endogenous oligodendrocyte progenitor cells and by transplanting these cells into demyelinated brain.
Project description:Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are the principal source of new myelin in the central nervous system. A better understanding of how they mature into myelin-forming cells is of high relevance for remyelination. It has recently been demonstrated that during developmental myelination, the DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), but not DNMT3A, is critical for regulating proliferation and differentiation of OPCs into myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs). However, it remains to be determined whether DNA methylation is also critical for the differentiation of adult OPCs during remyelination. After lysolecithin-induced demyelination in the ventrolateral spinal cord white matter of adult mice of either sex, we detected increased levels of DNA methylation and higher expression levels of the DNA methyltransferase DNMT3A and lower levels of DNMT1 in differentiating adult OLs. To functionally assess the role of DNMT1 and DNMT3 in adult OPCs, we used mice with inducible and lineage-specific ablation of Dnmt3a and/or Dnmt1 (i.e., Plp-creER(t);Dnmt3a-flox, Plp-creER(t);Dnmt1-flox, Plp-creER(t);Dnmt1-flox;Dnmt3a-flox). Upon lysolecithin injection in the spinal cord of these transgenic mice, we detected defective OPC differentiation and inefficient remyelination in the Dnmt3a null and Dnmt1/Dnmt3a null mice, but not in the Dnmt1 null mice. Taken together with previous results in the developing spinal cord, these data suggest an age-dependent role of distinct DNA methyltransferases in the oligodendrocyte lineage, with a dominant role for DNMT1 in neonatal OPCs and for DNMT3A in adult OPCs.
Project description:Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by episodes of autoimmune attack of oligodendrocytes leading to demyelination and progressive functional deficits. Because many patients exhibit functional recovery in between demyelinating episodes, understanding mechanisms responsible for repair of damaged myelin is critical for developing therapies that promote remyelination and prevent disease progression. The chemokine CXCL12 is a developmental molecule known to orchestrate the migration, proliferation, and differentiation of neuronal precursor cells within the developing CNS. Although studies suggest a role for CXCL12 in oligodendroglia ontogeny in vitro, no studies have investigated the role of CXCL12 in remyelination in vivo in the adult CNS. Using an experimental murine model of demyelination mediated by the copper chelator cuprizone, we evaluated the expression of CXCL12 and its receptor, CXCR4, within the demyelinating and remyelinating corpus callosum (CC). CXCL12 was significantly up-regulated within activated astrocytes and microglia in the CC during demyelination, as were numbers of CXCR4+NG2+ oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). Loss of CXCR4 signaling via either pharmacological blockade or in vivo RNA silencing led to decreased OPCs maturation and failure to remyelinate. These data indicate that CXCR4 activation, by promoting the differentiation of OPCs into oligodendrocytes, is critical for remyelination of the injured adult CNS.
Project description:Microglia are highly plastic immune cells which exist in a continuum of activation states. By shaping the function of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), the brain cells which differentiate to myelin-forming cells, microglia participate in both myelin injury and remyelination during multiple sclerosis. However, the mode(s) of action of microglia in supporting or inhibiting myelin repair is still largely unclear. Here, we analysed the effects of extracellular vesicles (EVs) produced in vitro by either pro-inflammatory or pro-regenerative microglia on OPCs at demyelinated lesions caused by lysolecithin injection in the mouse corpus callosum. Immunolabelling for myelin proteins and electron microscopy showed that EVs released by pro-inflammatory microglia blocked remyelination, whereas EVs produced by microglia co-cultured with immunosuppressive mesenchymal stem cells promoted OPC recruitment and myelin repair. The molecular mechanisms responsible for the harmful and beneficial EV actions were dissected in primary OPC cultures. By exposing OPCs, cultured either alone or with astrocytes, to inflammatory EVs, we observed a blockade of OPC maturation only in the presence of astrocytes, implicating these cells in remyelination failure. Biochemical fractionation revealed that astrocytes may be converted into harmful cells by the inflammatory EV cargo, as indicated by immunohistochemical and qPCR analyses, whereas surface lipid components of EVs promote OPC migration and/or differentiation, linking EV lipids to myelin repair. Although the mechanisms through which the lipid species enhance OPC maturation still remain to be fully defined, we provide the first demonstration that vesicular sphingosine 1 phosphate stimulates OPC migration, the first fundamental step in myelin repair. From this study, microglial EVs emerge as multimodal and multitarget signalling mediators able to influence both OPCs and astrocytes around myelin lesions, which may be exploited to develop novel approaches for myelin repair not only in multiple sclerosis, but also in neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases characterized by demyelination.
Project description:Myelin, a dielectric sheath that wraps large axons in the central and peripheral nervous systems, is essential for proper conductance of axon potentials. In multiple sclerosis (MS), autoimmune-mediated damage to myelin within the central nervous system (CNS) leads to progressive disability primarily due to limited endogenous repair of demyelination with associated axonal pathology. While treatments are available to limit demyelination, no treatments are available to promote myelin repair. Studies examining the molecular mechanisms that promote remyelination are therefore essential for identifying therapeutic targets to promote myelin repair and thereby limit disability in MS. Here, we present our current understanding of the critical extracellular and intracellular pathways that regulate the remyelinating capabilities of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) within the adult CNS.
Project description:Demyelination is one of the pathological hallmarks of multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, no therapy is available which directly potentiates endogenous remyelination. Interleukin-11 (IL-11), a member of the gp130 family of cytokines, is upregulated in MS lesions. Systemic IL-11 treatment was shown to ameliorate clinical symptoms in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. IL-11 modulates immune cells and protects oligodendrocytes in vitro. In this study, the cuprizone-induced demyelination mouse model was used to elucidate effects of IL-11 on de- and remyelination, independent of the immune response. Prophylactic-lentiviral- (LV-) mediated overexpression of IL-11 in mouse brain significantly limited acute demyelination, which was accompanied with the preservation of CC1(+) mature oligodendrocytes (OLs) and a decrease in microglial activation (Mac-2(+)). We further demonstrated that IL-11 directly reduces myelin phagocytosis in vitro. When IL-11 expressing LV was therapeutically applied in animals with extensive demyelination, a significant enhancement of remyelination was observed as demonstrated by Luxol Fast Blue staining and electron microscopy imaging. Our results indicate that IL-11 promotes maturation of NG2(+) OPCs into myelinating CC1(+) OLs and may thus explain the enhanced remyelination. Overall, we demonstrate that IL-11 is of therapeutic interest for MS and other demyelinating diseases by limiting demyelination and promoting remyelination.
Project description:Remyelination, a highly efficient central nervous system (CNS) regenerative process, is performed by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), which are recruited to the demyelination sites and differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes to form a new myelin sheath. Microglia, the specialized CNS-resident phagocytes, were shown to support remyelination through secretion of factors stimulating OPC recruitment and differentiation, and their pharmacological depletion impaired remyelination. Macrophage colony-stimulating factor (Csf1) has been implicated in the control of recruitment and polarization of microglia/macrophages in injury-induced CNS inflammation. However, it remains unclear how Csf1 regulates a glial inflammatory response to demyelination as well as axonal survival and new myelin formation. Here, we have investigated the effects of the inherent Csf1 deficiency in a murine model of remyelination. We showed that remyelination was severely impaired in Csf1-/- mutant mice despite the fact that reduction in monocyte/microglia accumulation affects neither the number of OPCs recruited to the demyelinating lesion nor their differentiation. We identified a specific inflammatory gene expression signature and found aberrant astrocyte activation in Csf1-/- mice. We conclude that Csf1-dependent microglia activity is essential for supporting the equilibrium between microglia and astrocyte pro-inflammatory vs. regenerative activation, demyelinated axons integration and, ultimately, reconstruction of damaged white matter.
Project description:Given the known neuroreparative actions of IL-33 in experimental models of central nervous system (CNS) injury, we predicted that compounds which induce IL-33 are likely to promote remyelination. We found anacardic acid as a candidate molecule to serve as a therapeutic agent to promote remyelination. Addition of anacardic acid to cultured oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) rapidly increased expression of myelin genes and myelin proteins, suggesting a direct induction of genes involved in myelination by anacardic acid. Also, when added to OPCs, anacardic acid resulted in the induction of IL-33. In vivo, treatment of with anacardic acid in doses which ranged from 0.025 mg/kg to 2.5 mg/kg<i>,</i> improved pathologic scores in experimental allergic encephalitis (EAE) and in the cuprizone model of demyelination/remyelination. Electron microscopic studies performed in mice fed with cuprizone and treated with anacardic acid showed lower g-ratio scores when compared to controls, suggesting increased remyelination of axons. In EAE, improvement in paralytic scores was seen when the drug was given prior to or following the onset of paralytic signs. In EAE and in the cuprizone model, areas of myelin loss, which are likely to remyelinate, was associated with a greater recruitment of IL-33-expressing OPCs in mice which received anacardic acid when compared to controls.
Project description:The major constituents of the myelin sheath are lipids, which are made up of fatty acids (FAs). The hydrophilic environment inside the cells requires FAs to be bound to proteins, preventing their aggregation. Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) are one class of proteins known to bind FAs in a cell. Given the crucial role of FAs for myelin sheath formation we investigated the role of FABP7, the major isoform expressed in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), in developmental myelination and remyelination. Here, we show that the knockdown of Fabp7 resulted in a reduction of OPC differentiation in vitro. Consistent with this result, a delay in developmental myelination was observed in Fabp7 knockout animals. This delay was transient with full myelination being established before adulthood. FABP7 was dispensable for remyelination, as the knockout of Fapb7 did not alter remyelination efficiency in a focal demyelination model. In summary, while FABP7 is important in OPC differentiation in vitro, its function is not crucial for myelination and remyelination in vivo.