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J Neurosci Res. 1995 Feb 15;40(3):285-93.

Basic fibroblast growth factor down-regulates myelin basic protein gene expression and alters myelin compaction of mature oligodendrocytes in vitro.

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Service de Neurologie, Hôpital Universitaire, Limoges, France.


The effects of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) on myelin basic protein (MBP) gene expression and myelin-like membrane formation were investigated in oligodendrocyte cultures containing mainly mature oligodendrocytes expressing MBP. These cultures were obtained by selective detachment of the cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage from 40-day-old mixed cultures derived from newborn rat brain. They were further purified by a 3-day pretreatment with cytosine arabinoside (ARA-C) in order to kill cycling cells. After withdrawal of ARA-C, daily treatment of the cells with bFGF for 3 days induced a drastic decrease in MBP mRNA level compared to control cultures treated only with ARA-C. Moreover, the percentage of oligodendrocytes labelled with anti-MBP antibodies decreased by 50%, as well as that of oligodendrocytes expressing myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), whereas proteolipid protein (PLP) immunolabelled cells were less affected. At the ultrastructural level, myelin-like membranes were still abundant in the ARA-C- and bFGF-treated cultures, but they were conspicuously uncompacted compared to cultures only pretreated with ARA-C. These results bring the first evidence that bFGF is able to down-regulate myelin protein gene expression in mature oligodendrocytes and to alter myelin structure. They imply that if bFGF is secreted after a demyelinating lesion of the central nervous system (CNS), this plasticity of mature oligodendrocytes will allow final remyelination of axons to complete only after this factor has returned to low levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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