Research Highlight: Gain of Olig2 function in oligodendrocyte progenitors promotes remyelination

Olig2, a transcription factor, is a key determinant for the specification of neural precursor cells into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) during development. ENP Team leader Brahim Nait-Oumesmar and coll. now test whether forced expression of Olig2 could promote remyelination in demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. To this aim, they investigate the functional role of Olig2 in OPC differentiation and maturation during development and under pathological conditions in vivo using genetic tools in the mouse. They observed that gain of Olig2 function in OPCs enhances differentiation into myelinating oligodendrocytes and migration of OPCs in the developing spinal cord. Under pathological conditions (using focal demyelinating lesions), gain of Olig2 function in adult OPCs induces their differentiation that potentiates remyelination rate. In multiple sclerosis, analysis of the differential expression level of Olig2 suggests that overexpression of this factor is correlated with the activation of endogenous OPCs. Although translation into therapeutic strategies for enhancing myelin repair will require a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of this transcription factor, these data clearly demonstrate that gain of Olig2 function in OPCs promotes remyelination.

Gain of Olig2 function in oligodendrocyte progenitors promotes remyelination. Amélie Wegener, Cyrille Deboux , Corinne Bachelin , Magali Frah , Christophe Kerninon , Danielle Seilhean , Matthias Weider , Michael Wegner , Brahim Nait-Oumesmar

DOI: http://dx.doi.org.gate1.inist.fr/10.1093/brain/awu375 120-135 First published online: 6 January 2015 

KEYWORDS : multiple sclerosis, remyelination, Olig2, oligodendrocyte, tetracycline system