Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type Z (Ptprz) is widely expressed in the mammalian central nervous system and has been suggested to regulate oligodendrocyte survival and differentiation. We investigated the role of Ptprz in oligodendrocyte remyelination after acute, toxin-induced demyelination in Ptprz null mice. We found neither obvious impairment in the recruitment of oligodendrocyte precursor cells, astrocytes, or reactive microglia/macrophage to lesions nor a failure for oligodendrocyte precursor cells to differentiate and remyelinate axons at the lesions. However, we observed an unexpected increase in the number of dystrophic axons by 3 days after demyelination, followed by prominent Wallerian degeneration by 21 days in the Ptprz-deficient mice. Moreover, quantitative gait analysis revealed a deficit of locomotor behavior in the mutant mice, suggesting increased vulnerability to axonal injury. We propose that Ptprz is necessary to maintain central nervous system axonal integrity in a demyelinating environment and may be an important target of axonal protection in inflammatory demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and periventricular leukomalacia.
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.