Fibrinogen Activates BMP Signaling in Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells and Inhibits Remyelination after Vascular Damage

Neuron. 2017 Dec 6;96(5):1003-1012.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.10.008. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


Blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption alters the composition of the brain microenvironment by allowing blood proteins into the CNS. However, whether blood-derived molecules serve as extrinsic inhibitors of remyelination is unknown. Here we show that the coagulation factor fibrinogen activates the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and suppresses remyelination. Fibrinogen induces phosphorylation of Smad 1/5/8 and inhibits OPC differentiation into myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs) while promoting an astrocytic fate in vitro. Fibrinogen effects are rescued by BMP type I receptor inhibition using dorsomorphin homolog 1 (DMH1) or CRISPR/Cas9 activin A receptor type I (ACVR1) knockout in OPCs. Fibrinogen and the BMP target Id2 are increased in demyelinated multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions. Therapeutic depletion of fibrinogen decreases BMP signaling and enhances remyelination in vivo. Targeting fibrinogen may be an upstream therapeutic strategy to promote the regenerative potential of CNS progenitors in diseases with remyelination failure.

Keywords: NG2 cells; ancrod; cell fate; fibrin; myelin; neonatal brain injury; neuroinflammation; regeneration; stem/progenitor cells; vasculature.

MeSH terms

  • Activin Receptors, Type I / drug effects
  • Activin Receptors, Type I / genetics
  • Activin Receptors, Type I / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fibrinogen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Fibrinogen / pharmacology*
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells / drug effects
  • Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells / metabolism*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Remyelination / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Fibrinogen
  • Activin Receptors, Type I
  • Acvr1 protein, mouse