Lovastatin induces the formation of abnormal myelin-like membrane sheets in primary oligodendrocytes

Section of Membrane Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Glia (Impact Factor: 6.03). 03/2009; 57(4):402-13. DOI: 10.1002/glia.20769
Source: PubMed


Statins, well-known inhibitors of cholesterol synthesis and protein isoprenylation, have been proposed as therapeutic drugs for multiple sclerosis (MS). As lovastatin and simvastatin, which are currently tested for their use in MS, can cross the blood-brain barrier, they may affect cellular processes in the central nervous system. This is especially relevant with respect to remyelination as a proposed additional treatment for MS, because cholesterol is a major component of myelin. Here, we show that primary oligodendrocytes, treated with lovastatin, form extensive membrane sheets, which contain galactosphingolipids. However, these membrane sheets are devoid of the major myelin proteins, myelin basic protein (MBP) and proteolipid protein (PLP). Reduced MBP protein expression was confirmed by SDS-PAGE and Western blotting, and in situ hybridization experiments revealed that lovastatin blocks MBP mRNA transport into oligodendrocyte processes. In contrast, PLP expression was only mildly affected by lovastatin. However, lovastatin treatment resulted in intracellular accumulation of PLP and prevented its translocation to the cell surface. Interestingly, another inhibitor of cholesterol synthesis (ro48-8071), which does not interfere with isoprenylation, had a similar effect on the localization of PLP, but it did not affect MBP expression and localization. These results suggest that lovastatin affects PLP transport predominantly by the inhibition of cholesterol synthesis, whereas reduced MBP expression is caused by impaired isoprenylation. Based on these results we recommend to carefully monitor the effect of statins on myelination prior to their use in demyelinating diseases.

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    • "Also in oligodendrocytes LDLR and VLDLR play an important role in the formation of the myelin sheath [35]. Studies have shown that statins, which up-regulate lipid receptors, are not toxic to rat Schwann cells in vitro and that they can induce myelin-like membranes in primary rat oligodendrocytes [36], [37]. Statins can even augment survival and differentiation of oligodendrocytes in an animal model of multiple sclerosis [38]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Schwann cell development is hallmarked by the induction of a lipogenic profile. Here we used amniotic fluid stem (AFS) cells and focused on the mechanisms occurring during early steps of differentiation along the Schwann cell lineage. Therefore, we initiated Schwann cell differentiation in AFS cells and monitored as well as modulated the activity of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, the major regulator of anabolic processes. Our results show that mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) activity is essential for glial marker expression and expression of Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Protein (SREBP) target genes. Moreover, SREBP target gene activation by statin treatment promoted lipogenic gene expression, induced mTORC1 activation and stimulated Schwann cell differentiation. To investigate mTORC1 downstream signaling we expressed a mutant S6K1, which subsequently induced the expression of the Schwann cell marker S100b, but did not affect lipogenic gene expression. This suggests that S6K1 dependent and independent pathways downstream of mTORC1 drive AFS cells to early Schwann cell differentiation and lipogenic gene expression. In conclusion our results propose that future strategies for peripheral nervous system regeneration will depend on ways to efficiently induce the mTORC1 pathway.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107004. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107004 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Cholesterol homeostasis is critically involved in these sorting and transport machineries. Recently, Maier et al. (2009) demonstrated that inhibition of cholesterol synthesis by lovastatin, one of statins which are well known inhibitors of 3- hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, perturbed myelin sheet formation by inhibiting MBP mRNA transport into oligodendrocyte processes and by inhibiting translocation of PLP protein to the membrane surface. They have further indicated that, the inhibition of PLP protein translocation is due to reduced cholesterol synthesis, whereas the inhibition of MBP mRNA transport is mediated by impaired isoprenylation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence indicates that white matter degeneration contributes to the neural disconnections that underlie Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology. Although this white matter degeneration is partly attributable to axonopathy associated with neuronal degeneration, amyloid β (Aβ) protein-mediated damage to oligodendrocytes could be another mechanism. To test this hypothesis, we studied effects of soluble Aβ in oligomeric form on survival and differentiation of cells of the oligodendroglial lineage using highly purified oligodendroglial cultures from rats at different developmental stages. Aβ oligomer at 10 μM or higher reduced survival of mature oligodendrocytes, whereas oligodendroglial progenitor cells (OPCs) were relatively resistant to the Aβ oligomer-mediated cytotoxicity. Further study revealed that Aβ oligomer even at 1 μM accelerated 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) formazan exocytosis in mature oligodendrocytes, and, more significantly, inhibited myelin sheet formation after induction of in vitro differentiation of OPCs. These results imply a novel pathogenetic mechanism underlying Aβ oligomer-mediated white matter degeneration, which could impair myelin maintenance and remyelination by adult OPCs, resulting in accumulating damage to myelinating axons thereby contributing to neural disconnections.
    Neurobiology of aging 03/2012; 33(3):499-509. DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.05.007 · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    • "In addition to their direct effects on cholesterol production, statins exhibit pleiotropic immunomodulatory effects in vitro [34] and in chronic and relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of MS [35]. Cholesterol is a major component of myelin and statins may hinder remyelination by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the brain [36,37]. The studies of statin treatment in MS have likewise also yielded mixed results [38-42]. "
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    Journal of Neuroinflammation 10/2011; 8(1):127. DOI:10.1186/1742-2094-8-127 · 5.41 Impact Factor
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