A phenotypic culture system for the molecular analysis of CNS myelination in the spinal cord
Studies of central nervous system myelination lack defined in vitro models which would effectively dissect molecular mechanisms of myelination that contain cells of the correct phenotype. Here we describe a co-culture of purified motoneurons and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, isolated from rat embryonic spinal cord using a combination of immunopanning techniques. This model illustrates differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitors into fully functional mature oligodendrocytes that myelinate axons. It also illustrates a contribution of axons to the rate of oligodendrocyte maturation and myelin gene expression. The defined conditions used allow molecular analysis of distinct stages of myelination and precise manipulation of inductive cues affecting axonal–oligodendrocyte interactions. This phenotypic in vitro myelination model can provide valuable insight into our understanding of demyelinating disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and traumatic diseases such as spinal cord injury where demyelination represents a contributing factor to the pathology of the disorder.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 35, Issue 31, October 2014, Pages 8840–8845