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Biofactors. 2010 Mar-Apr;36(2):98-102. doi: 10.1002/biof.90.

Oligodendrogenesis: the role of iron.

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Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Departamento de Química Biológica, Instituto de Química y Fisicoquímica Biológica (IQUIFIB), UBA-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Iron seems to be an essential factor in myelination and oligodendrocyte (OLGc) biology. However, the specific role of iron in these processes remains to be elucidated. Iron deficiency (ID) imposed to developing rats has been a relevant model to understand the role of iron in oligodendrogenesis and myelination. During early development ID causes specific changes in myelin composition, including a lower relative content of cholesterol, proteolipid protein (PLP), and myelin basic protein 21 (MBP21). These changes could be a consequence of the adverse effects of ID on OLGc development and function. We subsenquently studied the possible corrective effect of a single intracranial injection (ICI) of apotransferrin (aTf) on myelin formation in ID rats OLGc migration and differentiation after an ICI of aTf was evaluated at 3 days of age. ID increased the number of proliferating and undifferentiated cells in the corpus callosum (CC), while a single aTf injection reverts these effects, increasing the number of mature cells and myelin formation. Overall, results of a series of studies supports the concept that iron may affect OLGc development at early stages of embryogenesis rather than during late development. Myelin composition is altered by a limited iron supply, changes that can be reverted by a single injection of aTf.

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