[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Promotion of remyelination is an important therapeutic strategy to facilitate functional recovery after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) or oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) has been used to enhance remyelination after SCI. However, the microenvironment in the injured spinal cord is inhibitory for oligodendrocyte (OL) differentiation of NSCs or OPCs. Identifying the signaling pathways that inhibit OL differentiation in the injured spinal cord could lead to new therapeutic strategies to enhance remyelination and functional recovery after SCI. In the present study, we show that reactive astrocytes from the injured rat spinal cord or their conditioned media inhibit OL differentiation of adult OPCs with concurrent promotion of astrocyte differentiation. The expression of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) is dramatically increased in the reactive astrocytes and their conditioned media. Importantly, blocking BMP activity by BMP receptor antagonist, noggin, reverse the effects of active astrocytes on OPC differentiation by increasing the differentiation of OL from OPCs while decreasing the generation of astrocytes. These data indicate that the upregulated bone morphogenetic proteins in the reactive astrocytes are major factors to inhibit OL differentiation of OPCs and to promote its astrocyte differentiation. These data suggest that manipulation of BMP signaling in the endogenous or grafted NSCs or OPCs may be a useful therapeutic strategy to increase their OL differentiation and remyelination and enhance functional recovery after SCI.
Preview · Article · Apr 2011 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Demyelination contributes to the dysfunction after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). We explored whether the combination of neurotrophic factors and transplantation of adult rat spinal cord oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) could enhance remyelination and functional recovery after SCI. Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) was the most effective neurotrophic factor to promote oligodendrocyte (OL) differentiation and survival of OPCs in vitro. OPCs were infected with retroviruses expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) or CNTF and transplanted into the contused adult thoracic spinal cord 9 d after injury. Seven weeks after transplantation, the grafted OPCs survived and integrated into the injured spinal cord. The survival of grafted CNTF-OPCs increased fourfold compared with EGFP-OPCs. The grafted OPCs differentiated into adenomatus polyposis coli (APC(+)) OLs, and CNTF significantly increased the percentage of APC(+) OLs from grafted OPCs. Immunofluorescent and immunoelectron microscopic analyses showed that the grafted OPCs formed central myelin sheaths around the axons in the injured spinal cord. The number of OL-remyelinated axons in ventrolateral funiculus (VLF) or lateral funiculus (LF) at the injured epicenter was significantly increased in animals that received CNTF-OPC grafts compared with all other groups. Importantly, 75% of rats receiving CNTF-OPC grafts recovered transcranial magnetic motor-evoked potential and magnetic interenlargement reflex responses, indicating that conduction through the demyelinated axons in VLF or LF, respectively, was partially restored. More importantly, recovery of hindlimb locomotor function was significantly enhanced in animals receiving grafts of CNTF-OPCs. Thus, combined treatment with OPC grafts expressing CNTF can enhance remyelination and facilitate functional recovery after traumatic SCI.
Preview · Article · Feb 2010 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Promotion of remyelination is an important therapeutic strategy for the treatment of the demyelinating neurological disorders. Adult oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), which normally reside quiescently in the adult central nervous system (CNS), become activated and proliferative after demyelinating lesions. However, the extent of endogenous remyelination is limited because of the failure of adult OPCs to mature into myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs) in the demyelinated CNS. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the differentiation of adult OPCs could lead to new therapeutic strategies to treat these disorders. In this study, we established a stable culture of adult spinal cord OPCs and developed a reliable in vitro protocol to induce their sequential differentiation. Adult OPCs expressed bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type Ia, Ib, and II receptor subunits, which are required for BMP signal transduction. BMP2 and 4 promoted dose-dependent astrocyte differentiation of adult OPCs with concurrent suppression of OL differentiation. Treatment of OPCs with BMP2 and 4 increased ID4 expression and decreased the expression of olig1 and olig2. Overexpression of olig1 or olig2 blocked the astrocyte differentiation of adult OPCs induced by BMP2 and 4. Furthermore, overexpression of both olig1 and olig2, but not olig1 or olig2 alone, rescued OL differentiation from inhibition by BMP2 and 4. Our results demonstrated that downregulation of olig1 and olig2 is an important mechanism by which BMP2 and 4 inhibit OL differentiation of adult OPCs. These data suggest that blocking BMP signaling combined with olig1/2 overexpression could be a useful therapeutic strategy to enhance endogenous remyelination and facilitate functional recovery in CNS demyelinated disorders. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.