Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an idiopathic chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system with variable extent of remyelination. Remyelination originates from oligodendrocyte (OG) precursor cells, which migrate and differentiate into mature OG. Tubulin polymerization promoting protein (TPPP/p25) is located in mature OG and aggregates in oligodendroglial cytoplasmic inclusions in multiple system atrophy. We developed a novel monoclonal anti-TPPP/p25 antibody to quantify OG in different subtypes and disease stages of MS, and possible degenerative changes in OG. We evaluated autopsy material from 25 MS cases, including acute, primary progressive, secondary progressive, relapsing remitting MS, and five controls. Demyelinated lesions revealed loss of TPPP/p25-positive OG within the plaques. In remyelination, TPPP/p25 was first expressed in OG cytoplasms and later became positive in myelin sheaths. We observed increased numbers of TPPP/p25 immunoreactive OG in the normal appearing white matter (NAWM) in MS patients. In MS cases, the cytoplasmic area of TPPP/p25 immunoreactivity in the OG was higher in the periplaque area when compared with NAWM and the plaque, and TPPP/p25 immunoreactive OG cytoplasmic area inversely correlated with the disease duration. There was a lack of phospho-TDP-43, phospho-tau, α-synuclein, and ubiquitin immunoreactivity in OG with enlarged cytoplasm. Our data suggest impaired differentiation, migration, and activation capacity of OG in later disease stages of MS. Upregulation of TPPP/p25 in the periplaque white matter OG without evidence for inclusion body formation might reflect an activation state. Distinct and increased expression of TPPP/p25 in MS renders it a potential prognostic and diagnostic marker of MS.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.