J Neurochem 2008 Nov 18;107(4):907-17. Epub 2008 Sep 18.
Department of Internal Medicine II, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 increases proliferation, inhibits apoptosis and promotes differentiation of oligodendrocytes and their precursor cells, indicating an important function for IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) signaling in myelin development. The insulin receptor substrates (IRS), IRS-1 and -2 serve as intracellular IGF-1R adaptor proteins and are expressed in neurons, oligodendrocytes and their precursors. To address the role of IRS-2 in myelination, we analyzed myelination in IRS-2 deficient (IRS-2(-/-)) mice and age-matched controls during postnatal development. Interestingly, expression of the most abundant myelin proteins, myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein was reduced in IRS-2(-/-) brains at postnatal day 10 (P10) as compared to controls. myelin basic protein immunostaining in P10-IRS-2(-/-) mice revealed a reduced immunostaining, but an unchanged regional distribution pattern. In cerebral myelin isolates at P10 unaltered relative expression of different myelin proteins was found, indicating quantitatively reduced but not qualitatively altered myelination. Interestingly, up-regulation of IRS-1 expression and increased IGF-1R signaling were observed in IRS-2(-/-) mice at P10-14, indicating a compensatory mechanism to overcome IRS-2 deficiency. Adult IRS-2(-/-) mice showed unaltered myelination and motor function. Furthermore, in neuronal/brain-specific insulin receptor knockout mice myelination was unchanged. Thus, our experiments reveal that IGF-1R/IRS-2 mediated signals are critical for appropriate timing of myelination in vivo.