The specific functions of intrinsic regulators of OL differentiation are poorly understood. Sema4D, originally found as a negative regulator of axon guidance, is mainly expressed by oligodendrocytes in the postnatal brain, and our previous study revealed that the lack of Sema4D induced an increase in the number of oligodendrocytes in the cerebral cortex, suggesting that Sema4D may function as an intrinsic regulator of oligodendrocyte development. In this study, we assessed the effects of Sema4D deficiency and of the exogenous addition of Sema4D on oligodendrocyte differentiation. Sema4D deficiency induced an increase in the number of oligodendrocytes in the cerebral cortex at postnatal day 14 and later, without increase in the number of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. This increase was also observed in cultured oligodendrocytes obtained from Sema4D-deficient mice. Then we investigated whether Sema4D deficiency can increase the proliferation of the progenitor cells or influence the apoptosis. Apoptotic oligodendrocytes were markedly reduced in number in the developing cerebral cortex and in cultured oligodendrocytes obtained from Sema4D-deficient mice, although no significant change was found in proliferation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. Exogenous addition of Sema4D prevented the oligodendrocytes from this reduction of apoptosis, and further enhanced apoptosis in oligodendrocytes. Thus, Sema4D may act as an intrinsic inhibitory regulator of oligodendrocyte differentiation by promoting apoptosis.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 12/2011; 49(3):290-9. DOI:10.1016/j.mcn.2011.12.004 · 3.73 Impact Factor