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PLoS Biol. 2013 Jul;11(7):e1001604. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001604. Epub 2013 Jul 9.

Neurotransmitter-triggered transfer of exosomes mediates oligodendrocyte-neuron communication.

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1
Department of Molecular Cell Biology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Abstract

Reciprocal interactions between neurons and oligodendrocytes are not only crucial for myelination, but also for long-term survival of axons. Degeneration of axons occurs in several human myelin diseases, however the molecular mechanisms of axon-glia communication maintaining axon integrity are poorly understood. Here, we describe the signal-mediated transfer of exosomes from oligodendrocytes to neurons. These endosome-derived vesicles are secreted by oligodendrocytes and carry specific protein and RNA cargo. We show that activity-dependent release of the neurotransmitter glutamate triggers oligodendroglial exosome secretion mediated by Ca²⁺ entry through oligodendroglial NMDA and AMPA receptors. In turn, neurons internalize the released exosomes by endocytosis. Injection of oligodendroglia-derived exosomes into the mouse brain results in functional retrieval of exosome cargo in neurons. Supply of cultured neurons with oligodendroglial exosomes improves neuronal viability under conditions of cell stress. These findings indicate that oligodendroglial exosomes participate in a novel mode of bidirectional neuron-glia communication contributing to neuronal integrity.

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PMID:
23874151
PMCID:
PMC3706306
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.1001604
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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