Evidence for oligodendrocyte progenitor cell heterogeneity and their role in Alzheimer's disease

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-0756-6037
Beiter, Rebecca, Neuroscience - School of Medicine, University of Virginia
Gaultier, Alban, MD-NESC Neuroscience, University of Virginia

White matter loss has been described as a common occurrence in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients for multiple decades. However, it remains unclear why oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) fail to repair myelin deficits in these patients. Here, we show that clusterin, a risk factor for late-onset AD, is produced by OPCs and inhibits their differentiation into oligodendrocytes. Specifically, we demonstrate that a unique subset of OPCs produces clusterin. We show that phagocytosis of debris, including amyloid beta (Aβ) and myelin, drives the upregulation of clusterin in OPCs. We confirm, in vivo, that Aβ oligomers drive clusterin upregulation and that OPCs phagocytose Aβ. Furthermore, we show that clusterin is a potent inhibitor of OPC differentiation and prevents the production of myelin proteins. Finally, we demonstrate that clusterin inhibits OPC differentiation by significantly reducing the production of IL-9 by OPCs. Our data reveals that clusterin may be responsible for the lack of myelin repair observed in AD and is a promising therapeutic target for AD-associated cognitive decline.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells, Clusterin, Alzheimer's Disease, Remyelination, Heterogeneity
Issued Date: