Frontiers in cellular neuroscience

Primary Spinal OPC Culture System from Adult Zebrafish to Study Oligodendrocyte Differentiation

PMID 28959189


Endogenous oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are a promising target to improve functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI) by remyelinating denuded, and therefore vulnerable, axons. Demyelination is the result of a primary insult and secondary injury, leading to conduction blocks and long-term degeneration of the axons, which subsequently can lead to the loss of their neurons. In response to SCI, dormant OPCs can be activated and subsequently start to proliferate and differentiate into mature myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs). Therefore, researchers strive to control OPC responses, and utilize small molecule screening approaches in order to identify mechanisms of OPC activation, proliferation, migration and differentiation. In zebrafish, OPCs remyelinate axons of the optic tract after lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC)-induced demyelination back to full thickness myelin sheaths. In contrast to zebrafish, mammalian OPCs are highly vulnerable to excitotoxic stress, a cause of secondary injury, and remyelination remains insufficient. Generally, injury induced remyelination leads to shorter internodes and thinner myelin sheaths in mammals. In this study, we show that myelin sheaths are lost early after a complete spinal transection injury, but are re-established within 14 days after lesion. We introduce a novel, easy-to-use, inexpensive and highly reproducible OPC culture system based on dormant spinal OPCs from adult zebrafish that enables