The re-expression of the homeodomain transcription factor Gtx during remyelination of experimentally induced demyelinating lesions in young and old rat brain

Neuroscience. 2000;100(1):131-9. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(00)00252-9.


Since myelination and remyelination both involve investing an axon with a myelin sheath, a plausible hypothesis is that the two processes involve the expression of similar transcription factors. In this study we have addressed this hypothesis by comparing the expression of messenger RNA of Gtx, a homeodomain transcription factor expressed within oligodendrocytes during myelination, with the expression of messenger RNAs of the major myelin proteins, myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein during remyelination of experimentally induced demyelination in the adult rat brain. We have found a close temporal and spatial association between the expression patterns of the three messenger RNA species during remyelination. By comparing the expression patterns in rapidly remyelinating lesions in young adult rats with slowly remyelinating lesions in old adult rats, we have shown that Gtx messenger RNA expression follows the reappearance of myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein messenger RNAs regardless of the rate of remyelination. This observation demonstrates a clear association between the expression of Gtx messenger RNA and myelin repair. We have also shown that there is a decrease in constitutive levels of expression of myelin basic protein, proteolipid protein and Gtx messenger RNA in old adults compared with young adults. Taken together, our results indicate that Gtx, which has multiple binding sites in the promoter regions of both myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein genes, may have a similar role in the regulation of myelin protein gene expression during remyelination as has been proposed in myelination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Demyelinating Diseases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Myelin Basic Protein / genetics
  • Myelin Proteolipid Protein / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Myelin Proteolipid Protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nkx6-2 protein, mouse
  • Plp1 protein, rat
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors