Chronic demyelination of rabbit lesions is attributable to failed oligodendrocyte progenitor cell repopulation
The failure of remyelination in the human CNS contributes to axonal injury and disease progression in multiple sclerosis (MS). In contrast to regions of chronic demyelination in the human brain, remyelination in murine models is preceded by abundant oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) repopulation, such that OPC density within regions of demyelination far exceeds that of normal white matter. As such, we hypothesized that efficient OPC repopulation was a prerequisite of successful remyelination, and that increased lesion volume may contribute to the failure of OPC repopulation in human brain. In this study, we characterized the pattern of OPC activation and proliferation following induction of lysolecithin-induced chronic demyelination in adult rabbits. The density of OPCs never exceeded that of normal white matter and oligodendrocyte density did not recover even at 6 months post-injection. Rabbit OPC recruitment in large lesions was further characterized by chronic Sox2 expression in OPCs located in the lesion core and upregulation of quiescence-associated Prrx1 mRNA at the lesion border. Surprisingly, when small rabbit lesions of equivalent size to mouse were induced, they too exhibited reduced OPC repopulation. However, small lesions were distinct from large lesions as they displayed an almost complete lack of OPC proliferation following demyelination. These differences in the response to demyelination suggest that both volume dependent and species-specific mechanisms are critical in the regulation of OPC proliferation and lesion repopulation and suggest that alternate models will be necessary to fully understand the mechanisms that contribute to failed remyelination in MS.
- Chronic demyelination in the rabbit CNS was associated with reduced OPC repopulation.
- Quiescent OPCs accumulated around the edge of rabbit lesions.
- OPC and oligodendrocyte repopulation was reduced in rabbit regardless of lesion volume.