U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Neurobiology of Disease (2011) pp. 1-10; doi:10.1016/j.nbd.2011.08.004


The adult mammalian brain contains multiple populations of endogenous progenitor cell types. However, following CNS trauma or disease, the regenerative capacity of progenitor populations is typically insufficient and may actually be limited by non-permissive or inhibitory signals in the damaged parenchyma. Remyelination is the most effective and simplest regenerative process in the adult CNS yet is still insufficient following repeated or chronic demyelination. Our previous in vitro studies demonstrated that fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) signaling inhibited oligodendrocyte progenitor (OP) differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes. Therefore, we questioned whether FGFR1 signaling may inhibit the capacity of OP cells to generate oligodendrocytes in a demyelinating disease model and whether genetically reducing FGFR1 signaling in oligodendrocyte lineage cells could enhance the capacity for remyelination. FGFR1 was found to be upregulated in the corpus callosum during cuprizone mediated demyelination and expressed on OP cells just prior to remyelination. Plp/CreERT:Fgfr1fl/fl mice were administered tamoxifen to induce conditional Fgfr1 deletion in oligodendrocyte lineage cells. Tamoxifen administration during chronic demyelination resulted in reduced FGFR1 expression in OP cells. OP proliferation and population size were not altered one week after tamoxifen treatment. Tamoxifen was then administered during chronic demyelination and mice were given a six week recovery period without cuprizone in the chow. After the recovery period, OP numbers were reduced and the number of mature oligodendrocytes was increased, indicating an effect of FGFR1 reduction on OP differentiation. Importantly, tamoxifen administration in Plp/CreERT:Fgfr1fl/fl mice significantly promoted remyelination and axon integrity. These results demonstrate a direct effect of FGFR1 signaling in oligodendrocyte lineage cells as inhibiting the repair capacity of OP cells following chronic demyelination in the adult CNS.