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J Neurosci. 2016 Jan 20;36(3):957-62. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3608-15.2016.

Clemastine Enhances Myelination in the Prefrontal Cortex and Rescues Behavioral Changes in Socially Isolated Mice.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience and Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York 10029, and Jia.Liu@mssm.edu.
2
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298.
3
Department of Neuroscience and Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York 10029, and.

Abstract

Altered myelin structure and oligodendrocyte function have been shown to correlate with cognitive and motor dysfunction and deficits in social behavior. We and others have previously demonstrated that social isolation in mice induced behavioral, transcriptional, and ultrastructural changes in oligodendrocytes of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, whether enhancing myelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation could be beneficial in reversing such changes remains unexplored. To test this hypothesis, we orally administered clemastine, an antimuscarinic compound that has been shown to enhance oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination in vitro, for 2 weeks in adult mice following social isolation. Clemastine successfully reversed social avoidance behavior in mice undergoing prolonged social isolation. Impaired myelination was rescued by oral clemastine treatment, and was associated with enhanced oligodendrocyte progenitor differentiation and epigenetic changes. Clemastine induced higher levels of repressive histone methylation (H3K9me3), a marker for heterochromatin, in oligodendrocytes, but not neurons, of the PFC. This was consistent with the capability of clemastine in elevating H3K9 histone methyltransferases activity in cultured primary mouse oligodendrocytes, an effect that could be antagonized by cotreatment with muscarine. Our data suggest that promoting adult myelination is a potential strategy for reversing depressive-like social behavior. Significance statement: Oligodendrocyte development and myelination are highly dynamic processes influenced by experience and neuronal activity. However, whether enhancing myelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation is beneficial to treat depressive-like behavior has been unexplored. Mice undergoing prolonged social isolation display impaired myelination in the prefrontal cortex. Clemastine, a Food and Drug Administration-approved antimuscarinic compound that has been shown to enhance myelination under demyelinating conditions, successfully reversed social avoidance behavior in adult socially isolated mice. This was associated with enhanced myelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation in the prefrontal cortex through epigenetic regulation. Thus, enhancing myelination may be a potential means of reversing depressive-like social behavior.

KEYWORDS:

depression; epigenetics; myelination; prefrontal cortex; social isolation

PMID:
26791223
PMCID:
PMC4719024
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3608-15.2016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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