Publications by authors named "Torben Ruhwedel"

28 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

New Species Can Broaden Myelin Research: Suitability of Little Skate, .

Life (Basel) 2021 Feb 11;11(2). Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Whitman Science Center, Marin Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02540, USA.

Although myelinated nervous systems are shared among 60,000 jawed vertebrates, studies aimed at understanding myelination have focused more and more on mice and zebrafish. To obtain a broader understanding of the myelination process, we examined the little skate, . The reasons behind initiating studies at this time include: the desire to study a species belonging to an out group of other jawed vertebrates; using a species with embryos accessible throughout development; the availability of genome sequences; and the likelihood that mammalian antibodies recognize homologs in the chosen species. We report that the morphological features of myelination in a skate hatchling, a stage that supports complex behavioral repertoires needed for survival, are highly similar in terms of: appearances of myelinating oligodendrocytes (CNS) and Schwann cells (PNS); the way their levels of myelination conform to axon caliber; and their identity in terms of nodal and paranodal specializations. These features provide a core for further studies to determine: axon-myelinating cell communication; the structures of the proteins and lipids upon which myelinated fibers are formed; the pathways used to transport these molecules to sites of myelin assembly and maintenance; and the gene regulatory networks that control their expressions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/life11020136DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916940PMC
February 2021

Lack of astrocytes hinders parenchymal oligodendrocyte precursor cells from reaching a myelinating state in osmolyte-induced demyelination.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2020 12 24;8(1):224. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Institute of Neuropathology, University Medical Center Göttingen, 37075, Göttingen, Germany.

Demyelinated lesions in human pons observed after osmotic shifts in serum have been referred to as central pontine myelinolysis (CPM). Astrocytic damage, which is prominent in neuroinflammatory diseases like neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and multiple sclerosis (MS), is considered the primary event during formation of CPM lesions. Although more data on the effects of astrocyte-derived factors on oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) and remyelination are emerging, still little is known about remyelination of lesions with primary astrocytic loss. In autopsy tissue from patients with CPM as well as in an experimental model, we were able to characterize OPC activation and differentiation. Injections of the thymidine-analogue BrdU traced the maturation of OPCs activated in early astrocyte-depleted lesions. We observed rapid activation of the parenchymal NG2 OPC reservoir in experimental astrocyte-depleted demyelinated lesions, leading to extensive OPC proliferation. One week after lesion initiation, most parenchyma-derived OPCs expressed breast carcinoma amplified sequence-1 (BCAS1), indicating the transition into a pre-myelinating state. Cells derived from this early parenchymal response often presented a dysfunctional morphology with condensed cytoplasm and few extending processes, and were only sparsely detected among myelin-producing or mature oligodendrocytes. Correspondingly, early stages of human CPM lesions also showed reduced astrocyte numbers and non-myelinating BCAS1 oligodendrocytes with dysfunctional morphology. In the rat model, neural stem cells (NSCs) located in the subventricular zone (SVZ) were activated while the lesion was already partially repopulated with OPCs, giving rise to nestin progenitors that generated oligodendroglial lineage cells in the lesion, which was successively repopulated with astrocytes and remyelinated. These nestin stem cell-derived progenitors were absent in human CPM cases, which may have contributed to the inefficient lesion repair. The present study points to the importance of astrocyte-oligodendrocyte interactions for remyelination, highlighting the necessity to further determine the impact of astrocyte dysfunction on remyelination inefficiency in demyelinating disorders including MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-01105-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7761156PMC
December 2020

Microglia facilitate repair of demyelinated lesions via post-squalene sterol synthesis.

Nat Neurosci 2021 01 21;24(1):47-60. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany.

The repair of inflamed, demyelinated lesions as in multiple sclerosis (MS) necessitates the clearance of cholesterol-rich myelin debris by microglia/macrophages and the switch from a pro-inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory lesion environment. Subsequently, oligodendrocytes increase cholesterol levels as a prerequisite for synthesizing new myelin membranes. We hypothesized that lesion resolution is regulated by the fate of cholesterol from damaged myelin and oligodendroglial sterol synthesis. By integrating gene expression profiling, genetics and comprehensive phenotyping, we found that, paradoxically, sterol synthesis in myelin-phagocytosing microglia/macrophages determines the repair of acutely demyelinated lesions. Rather than producing cholesterol, microglia/macrophages synthesized desmosterol, the immediate cholesterol precursor. Desmosterol activated liver X receptor (LXR) signaling to resolve inflammation, creating a permissive environment for oligodendrocyte differentiation. Moreover, LXR target gene products facilitated the efflux of lipid and cholesterol from lipid-laden microglia/macrophages to support remyelination by oligodendrocytes. Consequently, pharmacological stimulation of sterol synthesis boosted the repair of demyelinated lesions, suggesting novel therapeutic strategies for myelin repair in MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41593-020-00757-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116742PMC
January 2021

Mannan-MOG35-55 Reverses Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis, Inducing a Peripheral Type 2 Myeloid Response, Reducing CNS Inflammation, and Preserving Axons in Spinal Cord Lesions.

Front Immunol 2020 19;11:575451. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Department of Immunology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece.

CNS autoantigens conjugated to oxidized mannan (OM) induce antigen-specific T cell tolerance and protect mice against autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). To investigate whether OM-peptides treat EAE initiated by human MHC class II molecules, we administered OM-conjugated murine myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide 35-55 (OM-MOG) to humanized HLA-DR2b transgenic mice (DR2b.Ab°), which are susceptible to MOG-EAE. OM-MOG protected DR2b.Ab° mice against MOG-EAE by both prophylactic and therapeutic applications. OM-MOG reversed clinical symptoms, reduced spinal cord inflammation, demyelination, and neuronal damage in DR2b.Ab° mice, while preserving axons within lesions and inducing the expression of genes associated with myelin () and neuron () recovery in B6 mice. OM-MOG-induced tolerance was peptide-specific, not affecting PLP178-191-induced EAE or polyclonal T cell proliferation responses. OM-MOG-induced immune tolerance involved rapid induction of PD-L1- and IL-10-producing myeloid cells, increased expression of (Ym1) in secondary lymphoid organs and characteristics of anergy in MOG-specific CD4 T cells. The results show that OM-MOG treats MOG-EAE in a peptide-specific manner, across mouse/human MHC class II barriers, through induction of a peripheral type 2 myeloid cell response and T cell anergy, and suggest that OM-peptides might be useful for suppressing antigen-specific CD4 T cell responses in the context of human autoimmune CNS demyelination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.575451DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7711156PMC
November 2020

A role of oligodendrocytes in information processing.

Nat Commun 2020 10 30;11(1):5497. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany.

Myelinating oligodendrocytes enable fast propagation of action potentials along the ensheathed axons. In addition, oligodendrocytes play diverse non-canonical roles including axonal metabolic support and activity-dependent myelination. An open question remains whether myelination also contributes to information processing in addition to speeding up conduction velocity. Here, we analyze the role of myelin in auditory information processing using paradigms that are also good predictors of speech understanding in humans. We compare mice with different degrees of dysmyelination using acute multiunit recordings in the auditory cortex, in combination with behavioral readouts. We find complex alterations of neuronal responses that reflect fatigue and temporal acuity deficits. We observe partially discriminable but similar deficits in well myelinated mice in which glial cells cannot fully support axons metabolically. We suggest a model in which myelination contributes to sustained stimulus perception in temporally complex paradigms, with a role of metabolically active oligodendrocytes in cortical information processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19152-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7599337PMC
October 2020

Intranasal mesenchymal stem cell therapy to boost myelination after encephalopathy of prematurity.

Glia 2021 Mar 12;69(3):655-680. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department for Developmental Origins of Disease, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Encephalopathy of prematurity (EoP) is a common cause of long-term neurodevelopmental morbidity in extreme preterm infants. Diffuse white matter injury (dWMI) is currently the most commonly observed form of EoP. Impaired maturation of oligodendrocytes (OLs) is the main underlying pathophysiological mechanism. No therapies are currently available to combat dWMI. Intranasal application of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a promising therapeutic option to boost neuroregeneration after injury. Here, we developed a double-hit dWMI mouse model and investigated the therapeutic potential of intranasal MSC therapy. Postnatal systemic inflammation and hypoxia-ischemia led to transient deficits in cortical myelination and OL maturation, functional deficits and neuroinflammation. Intranasal MSCs migrated dispersedly into the injured brain and potently improved myelination and functional outcome, dampened cerebral inflammationand rescued OL maturation after dWMI. Cocultures of MSCs with primary microglia or OLs show that MSCs secrete factors that directly promote OL maturation and dampen neuroinflammation. We show that MSCs adapt their secretome after ex vivo exposure to dWMI milieu and identified several factors including IGF1, EGF, LIF, and IL11 that potently boost OL maturation. Additionally, we showed that MSC-treated dWMI brains express different levels of these beneficial secreted factors. In conclusion, the combination of postnatal systemic inflammation and hypoxia-ischemia leads to a pattern of developmental brain abnormalities that mimics the clinical situation. Intranasal delivery of MSCs, that secrete several beneficial factors in situ, is a promising strategy to restore myelination after dWMI and subsequently improve the neurodevelopmental outcome of extreme preterm infants in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/glia.23919DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821154PMC
March 2021

Neuronal activity disrupts myelinated axon integrity in the absence of NKCC1b.

J Cell Biol 2020 07;219(7)

Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Through a genetic screen in zebrafish, we identified a mutant with disruption to myelin in both the CNS and PNS caused by a mutation in a previously uncharacterized gene, slc12a2b, predicted to encode a Na+, K+, and Cl- (NKCC) cotransporter, NKCC1b. slc12a2b/NKCC1b mutants exhibited a severe and progressive pathology in the PNS, characterized by dysmyelination and swelling of the periaxonal space at the axon-myelin interface. Cell-type-specific loss of slc12a2b/NKCC1b in either neurons or myelinating Schwann cells recapitulated these pathologies. Given that NKCC1 is critical for ion homeostasis, we asked whether the disruption to myelinated axons in slc12a2b/NKCC1b mutants is affected by neuronal activity. Strikingly, we found that blocking neuronal activity completely prevented and could even rescue the pathology in slc12a2b/NKCC1b mutants. Together, our data indicate that NKCC1b is required to maintain neuronal activity-related solute homeostasis at the axon-myelin interface, and the integrity of myelinated axons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201909022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7337504PMC
July 2020

Pathology of myelinated axons in the PLP-deficient mouse model of spastic paraplegia type 2 revealed by volume imaging using focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy.

J Struct Biol 2020 05 8;210(2):107492. Epub 2020 Mar 8.

Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, 37075 Göttingen, Germany; Electron Microscopy Core Unit, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, 37075 Göttingen, Germany; Center Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB), Göttingen, Germany. Electronic address:

Advances in electron microscopy including improved imaging techniques and state-of-the-art detectors facilitate imaging of larger tissue volumes with electron microscopic resolution. In combination with genetic tools for the generation of mouse mutants this allows assessing the three-dimensional (3D) characteristics of pathological features in disease models. Here we revisited the axonal pathology in the central nervous system of a mouse model of spastic paraplegia type 2, the Plp mouse. Although PLP is a bona fide myelin protein, the major hallmark of the disease in both SPG2 patients and mouse models are axonal swellings comprising accumulations of numerous organelles including mitochondria, gradually leading to irreversible axonal loss. To assess the number and morphology of axonal mitochondria and the overall myelin preservation we evaluated two sample preparation techniques, chemical fixation or high-pressure freezing and freeze substitution, with respect to the objective of 3D visualization. Both methods allowed visualizing distribution and morphological details of axonal mitochondria. In Plp mice the number of mitochondria is 2-fold increased along the entire axonal length. Mitochondria are also found in the excessive organelle accumulations within axonal swellings. In addition, organelle accumulations were detected within the myelin sheath and the inner tongue. We find that 3D electron microscopy is required for a comprehensive understanding of the size, content and frequency of axonal swellings, the hallmarks of axonal pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsb.2020.107492DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7196930PMC
May 2020

Biological Sample Preparation by High-pressure Freezing, Microwave-assisted Contrast Enhancement, and Minimal Resin Embedding for Volume Imaging.

J Vis Exp 2019 03 19(145). Epub 2019 Mar 19.

Electron Microscopy Core Unit, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine; Center Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB);

The described sample preparation technique is designed to combine the best quality of ultrastructural preservation with the most suitable contrast for the imaging modality in a focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM), which is used to obtain stacks of sequential images for 3D reconstruction and modelling. High-pressure freezing (HPF) allows close to native structural preservation, but the subsequent freeze substitution often does not provide sufficient contrast, especially for a bigger specimen, which is needed for high-quality imaging in the SEM required for 3D reconstruction. Therefore, in this protocol, after the freeze substitution, additional contrasting steps are carried out at room temperature. Although these steps are performed in a microwave, it is also possible to follow traditional bench processing, which requires longer incubation times.The subsequent embedding in minimal amounts of resin allows for faster and more precise targeting and preparation inside the FIB-SEM. This protocol is especially useful for samples that require preparation by high-pressure freezing for a reliable ultrastructural preservation but do not gain enough contrast during the freeze substitution for volume imaging using FIB-SEM. In combination with the minimal resin embedding, this protocol provides an efficient workflow for the acquisition of high-quality volume data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/59156DOI Listing
March 2019

Ketogenic diet ameliorates axonal defects and promotes myelination in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease.

Acta Neuropathol 2019 07 27;138(1):147-161. Epub 2019 Mar 27.

Department of Neurogenetics, Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hermann-Rein-Str. 3, 37075, Göttingen, Germany.

Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) is an untreatable and fatal leukodystrophy. In a model of PMD with perturbed blood-brain barrier integrity, cholesterol supplementation promotes myelin membrane growth. Here, we show that in contrast to the mouse model, dietary cholesterol in two PMD patients did not lead to a major advancement of hypomyelination, potentially because the intact blood-brain barrier precludes its entry into the CNS. We therefore turned to a PMD mouse model with preserved blood-brain barrier integrity and show that a high-fat/low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet restored oligodendrocyte integrity and increased CNS myelination. This dietary intervention also ameliorated axonal degeneration and normalized motor functions. Moreover, in a paradigm of adult remyelination, ketogenic diet facilitated repair and attenuated axon damage. We suggest that a therapy with lipids such as ketone bodies, that readily enter the brain, can circumvent the requirement of a disrupted blood-brain barrier in the treatment of myelin disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-01985-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6570703PMC
July 2019

Transmission Electron Microscopy of Oligodendrocytes and Myelin.

Methods Mol Biol 2019 ;1936:343-375

Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Department of Neurogenetics, Electron Microscopy Core Unit, Göttingen, Germany.

In this chapter, we describe protocols to study different aspects of oligodendrocytes and myelin using electron microscopy. First, we describe in detail how to prepare central nervous system tissue routinely by perfusion fixation of the animal and conventional embedding in Epon resin. Then, we explain how, with some modifications, chemically fixed tissue can be used for immunoelectron microscopy on cryosections. Chemical fixation and Epon embedding can also be applied to purified myelin to assess the quality of the preparation. Furthermore, we describe how cryopreparation by high-pressure freezing can be used to study the fine structure of myelin in nerve, brain, and spinal cord tissue. The differences in the structural appearance of oligodendrocytes and myelin between cryopreserved and conventionally processed samples are compared using representative images. Since primary cultured oligodendrocytes are used to study structure and function in vitro, we provide protocols for chemical fixation and Epon embedding of these cultures. Finally, we explain how the cytoskeleton of cultured oligodendrocytes can be visualized by using transmission electron microscopy on platinum-carbon replicas. In this chapter, we provide a wide range of protocols that can be applied to shed light on the different biological aspects of myelin and oligodendrocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-9072-6_20DOI Listing
July 2019

Axonal Ensheathment in the Nervous System of Lamprey: Implications for the Evolution of Myelinating Glia.

J Neurosci 2018 07 25;38(29):6586-6596. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, 37075 Göttingen, Germany,

In the nervous system, myelination of axons enables rapid impulse conduction and is a specialized function of glial cells. Myelinating glia are the last cell type to emerge in the evolution of vertebrate nervous systems, presumably in ancient jawed vertebrates (gnathostomata) because jawless vertebrates (agnathans) lack myelin. We have hypothesized that, in these unmyelinated species, evolutionary progenitors of myelinating cells must have existed that should still be present in contemporary agnathan species. Here, we used advanced electron microscopic techniques to reveal axon-glia interactions in the sea lamprey By quantitative assessment of the spinal cord and the peripheral lateral line nerve, we observed a marked maturation-dependent growth of axonal calibers. In peripheral nerves, all axons are ensheathed by glial cells either in bundles or, when larger than the threshold caliber of 3 μm, individually. The ensheathing glia are covered by a basal lamina and express -transcription factors, features of mammalian Remak-type Schwann cells. In larval lamprey, the ensheathment of peripheral axons leaves gaps that are closed in adults. CNS axons are also covered to a considerable extent by glial processes, which contain a high density of intermediate filaments, glycogen particles, large lipid droplets, and desmosomes, similar to mammalian astrocytes. Indeed, by hybridization, these glial cells express the astrocyte marker Specimens were of unknown sex. Our observations imply that radial sorting, ensheathment, and presumably also metabolic support of axons are ancient functions of glial cells that predate the evolutionary emergence of myelin in jawed vertebrates. We used current electron microscopy techniques to examine axon-glia units in a nonmyelinated vertebrate species, the sea lamprey. In the PNS, lamprey axons are fully ensheathed either individually or in bundles by cells ortholog to Schwann cells. In the CNS, axons associate with astrocyte orthologs, which contain glycogen and lipid droplets. We suggest that ensheathment, radial sorting, and metabolic support of axons by glial cells predate the evolutionary emergence of myelin in ancient jawed vertebrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1034-18.2018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6705951PMC
July 2018

Defective cholesterol clearance limits remyelination in the aged central nervous system.

Science 2018 02 4;359(6376):684-688. Epub 2018 Jan 4.

Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.

Age-associated decline in regeneration capacity limits the restoration of nervous system functionality after injury. In a model for demyelination, we found that old mice fail to resolve the inflammatory response initiated after myelin damage. Aged phagocytes accumulated excessive amounts of myelin debris, which triggered cholesterol crystal formation and phagolysosomal membrane rupture and stimulated inflammasomes. Myelin debris clearance required cholesterol transporters, including apolipoprotein E. Stimulation of reverse cholesterol transport was sufficient to restore the capacity of old mice to remyelinate lesioned tissue. Thus, cholesterol-rich myelin debris can overwhelm the efflux capacity of phagocytes, resulting in a phase transition of cholesterol into crystals and thereby inducing a maladaptive immune response that impedes tissue regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aan4183DOI Listing
February 2018

Blood-brain barrier hyperpermeability precedes demyelination in the cuprizone model.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2017 Dec 1;5(1):94. Epub 2017 Dec 1.

Department of Neurogenetics, Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hermann-Rein-Str. 3, 37075, Goettingen, Germany.

In neuroinflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis, the physiological function of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is perturbed, particularly in demyelinating lesions and supposedly secondary to acute demyelinating pathology. Using the toxic non-inflammatory cuprizone model of demyelination, we demonstrate, however, that the onset of persistent BBB impairment precedes demyelination. In addition to a direct effect of cuprizone on endothelial cells, a plethora of inflammatory mediators, which are mainly of astroglial origin during the initial disease phase, likely contribute to the destabilization of endothelial barrier function in vivo. Our study reveals that, at different time points of pathology and in different CNS regions, the level of gliosis correlates with the extent of BBB hyperpermeability and edema. Furthermore, in mutant mice with abolished type 3 CXC chemokine receptor (CXCR3) signaling, inflammatory responses are dampened and BBB dysfunction ameliorated. Together, these data have implications for understanding the role of BBB permeability in the pathogenesis of demyelinating disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-017-0497-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5710130PMC
December 2017

Dietary cholesterol promotes repair of demyelinated lesions in the adult brain.

Nat Commun 2017 01 24;8:14241. Epub 2017 Jan 24.

Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hermann-Rein-Str. 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder in which remyelination failure contributes to persistent disability. Cholesterol is rate-limiting for myelin biogenesis in the developing CNS; however, whether cholesterol insufficiency contributes to remyelination failure in MS, is unclear. Here, we show the relationship between cholesterol, myelination and neurological parameters in mouse models of demyelination and remyelination. In the cuprizone model, acute disease reduces serum cholesterol levels that can be restored by dietary cholesterol. Concomitant with blood-brain barrier impairment, supplemented cholesterol directly supports oligodendrocyte precursor proliferation and differentiation, and restores the balance of growth factors, creating a permissive environment for repair. This leads to attenuated axon damage, enhanced remyelination and improved motor learning. Remarkably, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, cholesterol supplementation does not exacerbate disease expression. These findings emphasize the safety of dietary cholesterol in inflammatory diseases and point to a previously unrecognized role of cholesterol in promoting repair after demyelinating episodes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5286209PMC
January 2017

Intracerebral Injections and Ultrastructural Analysis of High-Pressure Frozen Brain Tissue.

Curr Protoc Neurosci 2017 01 3;78:2.27.1-2.27.18. Epub 2017 Jan 3.

Department of Cellular Neuroscience, Max-Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany.

Intracerebral injections are an invasive method to bypass the blood brain barrier and are widely used to study molecular and cellular mechanisms of the central nervous system. The administered substances are injected directly at the site of interest, executing their effect locally. By combining injections in the rat brain with state-of-the-art electron microscopy, subtle changes in ultrastructure of the nervous tissue can be detected prior to overt damage or disease. The protocol presented here involves stereotactic injection into the corpus callosum of Lewis rats and the cryopreparation of freshly dissected tissue for electron microscopy. The localization of the injection site in tissue sections during the sample preparation for transmission electron microscopy is explained and possible artifacts of the method are indicated. With the help of this powerful combination of injections and electron microscopy, subtle effects of the applied substances on the biology of neural cells can be identified and monitored over time. © 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cpns.22DOI Listing
January 2017

Cortical network dysfunction caused by a subtle defect of myelination.

Glia 2016 11 29;64(11):2025-40. Epub 2016 Jul 29.

Clinical Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen.

Subtle white matter abnormalities have emerged as a hallmark of brain alterations in magnetic resonance imaging or upon autopsy of mentally ill subjects. However, it is unknown whether such reduction of white matter and myelin contributes to any disease-relevant phenotype or simply constitutes an epiphenomenon, possibly even treatment-related. Here, we have re-analyzed Mbp heterozygous mice, the unaffected parental strain of shiverer, a classical neurological mutant. Between 2 and 20 months of age, Mbp(+/-) versus Mbp(+/+) littermates were deeply phenotyped by combining extensive behavioral/cognitive testing with MRI, 1H-MR spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and molecular techniques. Surprisingly, Mbp-dependent myelination was significantly reduced in the prefrontal cortex. We also noticed a mild but progressive hypomyelination of the prefrontal corpus callosum and low-grade inflammation. While most behavioral functions were preserved, Mbp(+/-) mice exhibited defects of sensorimotor gating, as evidenced by reduced prepulse-inhibition, and a late-onset catatonia phenotype. Thus, subtle but primary abnormalities of CNS myelin can be the cause of a persistent cortical network dysfunction including catatonia, features typical of neuropsychiatric conditions. GLIA 2016;64:2025-2040.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/glia.23039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5129527PMC
November 2016

Loss of Myelin Basic Protein Function Triggers Myelin Breakdown in Models of Demyelinating Diseases.

Cell Rep 2016 07 23;16(2):314-322. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, 37075 Göttingen, Germany; Institute of Neuronal Cell Biology, Technical University Munich, 80805 Munich, Germany; German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease (DZNE), 6250 Munich, Germany; Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy), 81377 Munich, Germany. Electronic address:

Breakdown of myelin sheaths is a pathological hallmark of several autoimmune diseases of the nervous system. We employed autoantibody-mediated animal models of demyelinating diseases, including a rat model of neuromyelitis optica (NMO), to target myelin and found that myelin lamellae are broken down into vesicular structures at the innermost region of the myelin sheath. We demonstrated that myelin basic proteins (MBP), which form a polymer in between the myelin membrane layers, are targeted in these models. Elevation of intracellular Ca(2+) levels resulted in MBP network disassembly and myelin vesiculation. We propose that the aberrant phase transition of MBP molecules from their cohesive to soluble and non-adhesive state is a mechanism triggering myelin breakdown in NMO and possibly in other demyelinating diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4949381PMC
July 2016

Oligodendroglial maldevelopment in the cerebellum after postnatal hyperoxia and its prevention by minocycline.

Glia 2015 Oct 12;63(10):1825-39. Epub 2015 May 12.

Department for Neonatology, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.

According to recent research, brain injury after premature birth often includes impaired growth of the cerebellum. However, causes of cerebellar injury in this population are poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed whether postnatal hyperoxia perturbs white matter development of the cerebellum, and whether cerebellar glial damage can be prevented by minocycline. We used a hyperoxia model in neonatal rats providing 24 h exposure to fourfold increased oxygen concentration (80% O2) from P6 to P7, followed by recovery in room air until P9, P11, P15, P30. Injections with minocycline were performed at the beginning and 12 h into hyperoxia exposure. Hyperoxia induced oxidative stress in the cerebellum at P7 as evidenced by increased nitrotyrosine concentrations. Numbers of proliferating, NG2+Ki67+ oligodendroglial precursor cells were decreased at P7 after hyperoxia and at P11 following recovery in room air. Numbers of mature, CC1+ oligodendrocytes were diminished in recovering hyperoxia rats, and myelin basic protein expression was still decreased at P30. Electron microscopy analysis of myelinated fibers at P30 revealed thinner myelin sheath after hyperoxia. Long-term injury of the cerebellum by neonatal hyperoxia was confirmed by reduced volumes in MRI measurements at P30. In response to 80% O2, expression of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-A was largely reduced in cerebellar tissue and also in cultured cerebellar astrocytes. Treatment with minocycline during hyperoxia prevented oxidative stress, attenuated oligodendroglial injury, and improved astroglial PDGF-A levels. In conclusion, early hyperoxia causes white matter damage in the cerebellum with astroglial dysfunction being involved, and both can be prevented by treatment with minocycline. Neonatal exposure to hyperoxia causes hypomyelination of the cerebellum. Reduced astroglial growth factor production but not microglial inflammation seems to contribute to oligodendroglial damage, and minocycline rescues oligodendroglia development in the cerebellum after hyperoxia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/glia.22847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4534324PMC
October 2015

Oligodendrocyte ablation triggers central pain independently of innate or adaptive immune responses in mice.

Nat Commun 2014 Dec 1;5:5472. Epub 2014 Dec 1.

Institute for Pharmacology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 366, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Mechanisms underlying central neuropathic pain are poorly understood. Although glial dysfunction has been functionally linked with neuropathic pain, very little is known about modulation of pain by oligodendrocytes. Here we report that genetic ablation of oligodendrocytes rapidly triggers a pattern of sensory changes that closely resemble central neuropathic pain, which are manifest before overt demyelination. Primary oligodendrocyte loss is not associated with autoreactive T- and B-cell infiltration in the spinal cord and neither activation of microglia nor reactive astrogliosis contribute functionally to central pain evoked by ablation of oligodendrocytes. Instead, light and electron microscopic analyses reveal axonal pathology in the spinal dorsal horn and spinothalamic tract concurrent with the induction and maintenance of nociceptive hypersensitivity. These data reveal a role for oligodendrocytes in modulating pain and suggest that perturbation of oligodendrocyte functions that maintain axonal integrity can lead to central neuropathic pain independent of immune contributions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6472DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268702PMC
December 2014

Cryo FIB-SEM: volume imaging of cellular ultrastructure in native frozen specimens.

J Struct Biol 2013 Nov 9;184(2):355-60. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH, Training, Application and Support Center (TASC), Carl-Zeiss-Straße 22, D-73447 Oberkochen, Germany.

Volume microscopy at high resolution is increasingly required to better understand cellular functions in the context of three-dimensional assemblies. Focused ion beam (FIB) milling for serial block face imaging in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) is an efficient and fast method to generate such volume data for 3D analysis. Here, we apply this technique at cryo-conditions to image fully hydrated frozen specimen of mouse optic nerves and Bacillus subtilis spores obtained by high-pressure freezing (HPF). We established imaging conditions to directly visualize the ultrastructure in the block face at -150 °C by using an in-lens secondary electron (SE) detector. By serial sectioning with a focused ion beam and block face imaging of the optic nerve we obtained a volume as large as X=7.72 μm, Y=5.79 μm and Z=3.81 μm with a lateral pixel size of 7.5 nm and a slice thickness of 30 nm in Z. The intrinsic contrast of membranes was sufficient to distinguish structures like Golgi cisternae, vesicles, endoplasmic reticulum and cristae within mitochondria and allowed for a three-dimensional reconstruction of different types of mitochondria within an oligodendrocyte and an astrocytic process. Applying this technique to dormant B. subtilis spores we obtained volumes containing numerous spores and discovered a bright signal in the core, which cannot be related to any known structure so far. In summary, we describe the use of cryo FIB-SEM as a tool for direct and fast 3D cryo-imaging of large native frozen samples including tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsb.2013.09.024DOI Listing
November 2013

Therapy of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease in mice by feeding a cholesterol-enriched diet.

Nat Med 2012 Jul;18(7):1130-5

Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany.

Duplication of PLP1 (proteolipid protein gene 1) and the subsequent overexpression of the myelin protein PLP (also known as DM20) in oligodendrocytes is the most frequent cause of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal leukodystrophy without therapeutic options. PLP binds cholesterol and is contained within membrane lipid raft microdomains. Cholesterol availability is the rate-limiting factor of central nervous system myelin synthesis. Transgenic mice with extra copies of the Plp1 gene are accurate models of PMD. Dysmyelination followed by demyelination, secondary inflammation and axon damage contribute to the severe motor impairment in these mice. The finding that in Plp1-transgenic oligodendrocytes, PLP and cholesterol accumulate in late endosomes and lysosomes (endo/lysosomes), prompted us to further investigate the role of cholesterol in PMD. Here we show that cholesterol itself promotes normal PLP trafficking and that dietary cholesterol influences PMD pathology. In a preclinical trial, PMD mice were fed a cholesterol-enriched diet. This restored oligodendrocyte numbers and ameliorated intracellular PLP accumulation. Moreover, myelin content increased, inflammation and gliosis were reduced and motor defects improved. Even after onset of clinical symptoms, cholesterol treatment prevented disease progression. Dietary cholesterol did not reduce Plp1 overexpression but facilitated incorporation of PLP into myelin membranes. These findings may have implications for therapeutic interventions in patients with PMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.2833DOI Listing
July 2012

Genetic disruption of Pten in a novel mouse model of tomaculous neuropathy.

EMBO Mol Med 2012 Jun 4;4(6):486-99. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany.

'Tomacula' and myelin outfoldings are striking neuropathological features of a diverse group of inherited demyelinating neuropathies. Whereas the underlying genetic defects are well known, the molecular mechanisms of tomacula formation have remained obscure. We hypothesized that they are caused by uncontrolled, excessive myelin membrane growth, a process, which is regulated in normal development by neuregulin-1/ErbB2, PI3 Kinase signalling and ERK/MAPK signalling. Here, we demonstrate by targeted disruption of Pten in Schwann cells that hyperactivation of the endogenous PI3 Kinase pathway causes focal hypermyelination, myelin outfoldings and tomacula, even when induced in adult animals by tamoxifen, and is associated with progressive peripheral neuropathy. Activated AKT kinase is associated with PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) at paranodal loops and Schmidt-Lanterman incisures. This striking myelin pathology, with features of human CMT type 4B1 and HNPP, is dependent on AKT/mTOR signalling, as evidenced by a significant amelioration of the pathology in mice treated with rapamycin. We suggest that regions of non-compact myelin are under lifelong protection by PTEN against abnormal membrane outgrowth, and that dysregulated phosphoinositide levels play a critical role in the pathology of tomaculous neuropathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/emmm.201200227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443946PMC
June 2012

Aspartoacylase-lacZ knockin mice: an engineered model of Canavan disease.

PLoS One 2011 20;6(5):e20336. Epub 2011 May 20.

Institute of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

Canavan Disease (CD) is a recessive leukodystrophy caused by loss of function mutations in the gene encoding aspartoacylase (ASPA), an oligodendrocyte-enriched enzyme that hydrolyses N-acetylaspartate (NAA) to acetate and aspartate. The neurological phenotypes of different rodent models of CD vary considerably. Here we report on a novel targeted aspa mouse mutant expressing the bacterial β-Galactosidase (lacZ) gene under the control of the aspa regulatory elements. X-Gal staining in known ASPA expression domains confirms the integrity of the modified locus in heterozygous aspa lacZ-knockin (aspa(lacZ/+)) mice. In addition, abundant ASPA expression was detected in Schwann cells. Homozygous (aspa(lacZ/lacZ)) mutants are ASPA-deficient, show CD-like histopathology and moderate neurological impairment with behavioural deficits that are more pronounced in aspa(lacZ/lacZ) males than females. Non-invasive ultrahigh field proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed increased levels of NAA, myo-inositol and taurine in the aspa(lacZ/lacZ) brain. Spongy degeneration was prominent in hippocampus, thalamus, brain stem, and cerebellum, whereas white matter of optic nerve and corpus callosum was spared. Intracellular vacuolisation in astrocytes coincides with axonal swellings in cerebellum and brain stem of aspa(lacZ/lacZ) mutants indicating that astroglia may act as an osmolyte buffer in the aspa-deficient CNS. In summary, the aspa(lacZ) mouse is an accurate model of CD and an important tool to identify novel aspects of its complex pathology.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0020336PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098885PMC
October 2011

Transport of the major myelin proteolipid protein is directed by VAMP3 and VAMP7.

J Neurosci 2011 Apr;31(15):5659-72

Department of Biology, Molecular Cell Biology, University of Mainz, D-55128 Mainz, Germany.

CNS myelination by oligodendrocytes requires directed transport of myelin membrane components and a timely and spatially controlled membrane expansion. In this study, we show the functional involvement of the R-soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (R-SNARE) proteins VAMP3/cellubrevin and VAMP7/TI-VAMP in myelin membrane trafficking. VAMP3 and VAMP7 colocalize with the major myelin proteolipid protein (PLP) in recycling endosomes and late endosomes/lysosomes, respectively. Interference with VAMP3 or VAMP7 function using small interfering RNA-mediated silencing and exogenous expression of dominant-negative proteins diminished transport of PLP to the oligodendroglial cell surface. In addition, the association of PLP with myelin-like membranes produced by oligodendrocytes cocultured with cortical neurons was reduced. We furthermore identified Syntaxin-4 and Syntaxin-3 as prime acceptor Q-SNAREs of VAMP3 and VAMP7, respectively. Analysis of VAMP3-deficient mice revealed no myelination defects. Interestingly, AP-3δ-deficient mocha mice, which suffer from impaired secretion of lysosome-related organelles and missorting of VAMP7, exhibit a mild dysmyelination characterized by reduced levels of select myelin proteins, including PLP. We conclude that PLP reaches the cell surface via at least two trafficking pathways with distinct regulations: (1) VAMP3 mediates fusion of recycling endosome-derived vesicles with the oligodendroglial plasma membrane in the course of the secretory pathway; (2) VAMP7 controls exocytosis of PLP from late endosomal/lysosomal organelles as part of a transcytosis pathway. Our in vivo data suggest that exocytosis of lysosome-related organelles controlled by VAMP7 contributes to myelin biogenesis by delivering cargo to the myelin membrane.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6638-10.2011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6622839PMC
April 2011

Electron microscopy of the mouse central nervous system.

Methods Cell Biol 2010 ;96:475-512

Department of Neurogenetics, Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen D-37075, Germany.

The high degree of similarity between mouse and human physiology and genomes makes mice the animal model of choice to study the functions and dysfunctions of the central nervous system (CNS). The considerable knowledge accumulated in the past decades and the steadily growing number of genetically modified mouse lines allow for the increasingly accurate understanding of biological circuits. Electron microscopy (EM) contributes to unravel the biology of neuronal networks and the myelinating glia by allowing a fine morphological scrutiny of the nervous tissue. We provide detailed descriptions of the conventional processing as well as cryopreparation methods such as high-pressure freezing (HPF), freeze-substitution (FS), and SDS-digested freeze-fracture replica labeling (SDS-FRL) on selected CNS regions such as the retina, optic nerve, and cerebellum. By taking example of the ribbon synapse in the retina and myelinated retinal ganglion cell axons of the optic nerve, we discuss the advantages and drawbacks of these methods in a comparative way.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0091-679X(10)96020-2DOI Listing
January 2011