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Neuroscience. 2008 Jan 2;151(1):138-47. Epub 2007 Nov 17.

Platelet-derived growth factor-AA mediates oligodendrocyte lineage differentiation through activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathway.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, People's Republic of China.


Platelet-derived growth factor-AA (PDGF-AA) has been used as a potent mitogen for the proliferation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). Whether it plays a role in oligodendrocyte lineage differentiation of neural stem cells (NSCs) is unclear. Here we report that PDGF-AA is an instructional signal required for the differentiation of embryonic forebrain NSCs into O4-positive oligodendrocytes. Moreover, such PDGF-AA-induced oligodendrocyte differentiation appears to be mediated by the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (Erk1/2) but not phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) pathway. Finally, PDGF-AA treatment resulted in a significant increase in the expression of the oligodendrocyte-specific transcriptional factor Olig2 in an Erk1/2-dependent mechanism at early stages of oligodendrogliogenesis. Together, our studies provide cellular and molecular evidence to suggest that PDGF-AA is a key molecule that regulates the differentiation of embryonic NSCs into oligodendrocytes. The action of PDGF-AA is mediated by the activation of Erk pathway which involves the downstream upregulation of transcriptional factor Olig2.

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