Direct and indirect effects of immune and central nervous system-resident cells on human oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation

J Immunol. 2015 Jan 15;194(2):761-72. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1401156. Epub 2014 Dec 10.


In multiple sclerosis, successful remyelination within the injured CNS is largely dependent on the survival and differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. During inflammatory injury, oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells within lesion sites are exposed to secreted products derived from both infiltrating immune cell subsets and CNS-resident cells. Such products may be considered either proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory and have the potential to contribute to both injury and repair processes. Within the CNS, astrocytes also contribute significantly to oligodendrocyte biology during development and following inflammatory injury. The overall objective of the current study was to determine how functionally distinct proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory human immune cell subsets, implicated in multiple sclerosis, can directly and/or indirectly (via astrocytes) impact human oligodendrocyte progenitor cell survival and differentiation. Proinflammatory T cell (Th1/Th17) and M1-polarized myeloid cell supernatants had a direct cytotoxic effect on human A2B5(+) neural progenitors, resulting in decreased O4(+) and GalC(+) oligodendrocyte lineage cells. Astrocyte-conditioned media collected from astrocytes pre-exposed to the same proinflammatory supernatants also resulted in decreased oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation without an apparent increase in cell death and was mediated through astrocyte-derived CXCL10, yet this decrease in differentiation was not observed in the more differentiated oligodendrocytes. Th2 and M2 macrophage or microglia supernatants had neither a direct nor an indirect impact on oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation. We conclude that proinflammatory immune cell responses can directly and indirectly (through astrocytes) impact the fate of immature oligodendrocyte-lineage cells, with oligodendrocyte progenitor cells more vulnerable to injury compared with mature oligodendrocytes.

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Chemokine CXCL10 / immunology
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology
  • Neural Stem Cells / immunology*
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / cytology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / cytology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Chemokine CXCL10
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Cxcl10 protein, mouse