The mechanisms regulating differentiation of oligodendrocyte (OLG) progenitor cells (OPCs) into mature OLGs are key to understanding myelination and remyelination. Signaling via the retinoid X receptor γ (RXR-γ) has been shown to be a positive regulator of OPC differentiation. However, the nuclear receptor (NR) binding partner of RXR-γ has not been established. In this study we show that RXR-γ binds to several NRs in OPCs and OLGs, one of which is vitamin D receptor (VDR). Using pharmacological and knockdown approaches we show that RXR-VDR signaling induces OPC differentiation and that VDR agonist vitamin D enhances OPC differentiation. We also show expression of VDR in OLG lineage cells in multiple sclerosis. Our data reveal a role for vitamin D in the regenerative component of demyelinating disease and identify a new target for remyelination medicines.
© 2015 de la Fuente et al.