Alpha-Synuclein Expression in the Oligodendrocyte Lineage: an In Vitro and In Vivo Study Using Rodent and Human Models

Stem Cell Reports. 2015 Aug 11;5(2):174-84. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Jul 30.


In this study, we sought evidence for alpha-synuclein (ASYN) expression in oligodendrocytes, as a possible endogenous source of ASYN to explain its presence in glial inclusions found in multiple system atrophy (MSA) and Parkinson's disease (PD). We identified ASYN in oligodendrocyte lineage progenitors isolated from the rodent brain, in oligodendrocytes generated from embryonic stem cells, and in induced pluripotent stem cells produced from fibroblasts of a healthy individual and patients diagnosed with MSA or PD, in cultures in vitro. Notably, we observed a significant decrease in ΑSYN during oligodendrocyte maturation. Additionally, we show the presence of transcripts in PDGFRΑ/CD140a(+) cells and SOX10(+) oligodendrocyte lineage nuclei isolated by FACS from rodent and human healthy and diseased brains, respectively. Our work identifies ASYN in oligodendrocyte lineage cells, and it offers additional in vitro cellular models that should provide significant insights of the functional implication of ASYN during oligodendrocyte development and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity
  • alpha-Synuclein / genetics
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism*


  • alpha-Synuclein