Directional migration and transcriptional analysis of oligodendrocyte precursors subjected to stimulation of electrical signal

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2015 Oct 15;309(8):C532-40. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00175.2015. Epub 2015 Aug 12.


Loss of oligodendrocytes as the result of central nervous system disease causes demyelination that impairs axon function. Effective directional migration of endogenous or grafted oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) to a lesion is crucial in the neural remyelination process. In this study, the migration of OPCs in electric fields (EFs) was investigated. We found that OPCs migrated anodally in applied EFs, and the directedness and displacement of anodal migration increased significantly when the EF strength increased from 50 to 200 mV/mm. However, EFs did not significantly affect the cell migration speed. The transcriptome of OPCs subjected to EF stimulation (100 and 200 mV/mm) was analyzed using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), and results were verified by the reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. A Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis revealed that the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway that signals cell migration was significantly upregulated in cells treated with an EF of 200 mV/mm compared with control cells. Gene ontology enrichment analysis showed the downregulation of differentially expressed genes in chemotaxis. This study suggests that an applied EF is an effective cue to guiding OPC migration in neural regeneration and that transcriptional analysis contributes to the understanding of the mechanism of EF-guided cell migration.

Keywords: RNA-Seq; electric fields; electrotaxis; migration; oligodendrocyte precursor cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology*
  • Oligodendroglia / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptome