Aging of myelinating glial cells predominantly affects lipid metabolism and immune response pathways.
ABSTRACT Both the central and the peripheral nervous systems are prone to multiple age-dependent neurological deficits, often attributed to still unknown alterations in the function of myelinating glia. To uncover the biological processes affected in glial cells by aging, we analyzed gene expression of the Schwann cell-rich mouse sciatic nerve at 17 time points throughout life, from day of birth until senescence. By combining these data with the gene expression data of myelin mouse mutants carrying deletions of either Pmp22, SCAP, or Lpin1, we found that the majority of age-related transcripts were also affected in myelin mutants (54.4%) and were regulated during PNS development (59.5%), indicating a high level of overlap in implicated molecular pathways. The expression profiles in aging copied the direction of transcriptional changes observed in neuropathy models; however, they had the opposite direction when compared with PNS development. The most significantly altered biological processes in aging involved the inflammatory/immune response and lipid metabolism. Interestingly, both these pathways were comparably changed in the aging optic nerve, suggesting that similar biological processes are affected in aging of glia-rich parts of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Our comprehensive comparison of gene expression in three distinct biological conditions including development, aging, and myelin disease thus revealed a previously unanticipated relationship among themselves and identified lipid metabolism and inflammatory/immune response pathways as potential therapeutical targets to prevent or delay so far incurable age-related and inherited forms of neuropathies.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a heterogeneous group of disorders of the peripheral nervous system, mainly characterized by distal muscle weakness and atrophy leading to motor handicap. With an estimated prevalence of 1 in 2,500, this condition is one of the most commonly inherited neurological disorders. Mutations in more than 30 genes affecting glial and/or neuronal functions have been associated with different forms of CMT leading to a substantial improvement in diagnostics of the disease and in the understanding of implicated pathophysiological mechanisms. However, recent data from systematic genetic screening performed in large cohorts of CMT patients indicated that molecular diagnosis could be established only in ∼50-70% of them, suggesting that additional genes are involved in this disease. In addition to providing an overview of genetic and functional data concerning various CMT forms, this review focuses on recent data generated through the use of highly parallel genetic technologies (SNP chips, sequence capture and next-generation DNA sequencing) in CMT families, and the current and future impact of these technologies on gene discovery and diagnostics of CMTs.Molecular syndromology 11/2012; 3(5):204-14.