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Apoptosis of Oligodendrocytes during Early Development Delays Myelination and Impairs Subsequent Responses to Demyelination.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience (2015-10-16)
Andrew V Caprariello, Courtney E Batt, Ingrid Zippe, Rita R Romito-DiGiacomo, Molly Karl, Robert H Miller
ABSTRACT

During mammalian development, myelin-forming oligodendrocytes are generated and axons ensheathed according to a tightly regulated sequence of events. Excess premyelinating oligodendrocytes are eliminated by apoptosis and the timing of the onset of myelination in any specific CNS region is highly reproducible. Although the developing CNS recovers more effectively than the adult CNS from similar insults, it is unknown whether early loss of oligodendrocyte lineage cells leads to long-term functional deficits. To directly assess whether the loss of oligodendrocytes during early postnatal spinal cord development impacted oligodendrogenesis, myelination, and remyelination, transgenic mouse lines were generated in which a modified caspase-9 molecule allowed spatial and temporal control of the apoptotic pathway specifically in mature, myelin basic protein expressing oligodendrocytes (MBP-iCP9). Activating apoptosis in MBP(+) cells of the developing spinal cord during the first postnatal week inhibited myelination. This inhibition was transient, and the levels of myelination largely returned to normal after 2 weeks. Despite robust developmental plasticity, MBP-iCP9-induced oligodendrocyte apoptosis compromised the rate and extent of adult remyelination. Remyelination failure correlated with a truncated proliferative response of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, suggesting that depleting the oligodendrocyte pool during critical developmental periods compromises the regenerative response to subsequent demyelinating lesions. This manuscript demonstrates that early insults leading to oligodendrocyte apoptosis result in the impairment of recovery from demyelinating diseases in the adult. These studies begin to provide an initial understanding of the potential failure of recovery in insults, such as periventricular leukomalacia and multiple sclerosis.

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