Regulatory T Cells Promote Myelin Regeneration in the Central Nervous System

Nat Neurosci. 2017 May;20(5):674-680. doi: 10.1038/nn.4528. Epub 2017 Mar 13.

Abstract

Regeneration of CNS myelin involves differentiation of oligodendrocytes from oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. In multiple sclerosis, remyelination can fail despite abundant oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, suggesting impairment of oligodendrocyte differentiation. T cells infiltrate the CNS in multiple sclerosis, yet little is known about T cell functions in remyelination. We report that regulatory T cells (Treg) promote oligodendrocyte differentiation and (re)myelination. Treg-deficient mice exhibited substantially impaired remyelination and oligodendrocyte differentiation, which was rescued by adoptive transfer of Treg. In brain slice cultures, Treg accelerated developmental myelination and remyelination, even in the absence of overt inflammation. Treg directly promoted oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation and myelination in vitro. We identified CCN3 as a Treg-derived mediator of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination in vitro. These findings reveal a new regenerative function of Treg in the CNS, distinct from immunomodulation. Although the cells were originally named 'Treg' to reflect immunoregulatory roles, this also captures emerging, regenerative Treg functions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology*
  • Nephroblastoma Overexpressed Protein / physiology
  • Oligodendroglia / physiology
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / physiology*

Substances

  • Ccn3 protein, mouse
  • Nephroblastoma Overexpressed Protein