Retinoic Acid Is Required for Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cell Production and Differentiation in the Postnatal Mouse Corpus Callosum

eNeuro. 2020 Jan 22;7(1):ENEURO.0270-19.2019. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0270-19.2019. Print 2020 Jan/Feb.


Myelination of the CNS relies on the production and differentiation of oligodendrocyte (OL) precursor cells (OPCs) into mature OLs. During the first month of postnatal life, OPCs that populate the corpus callosum (CC) arise from neural stem cells (NSCs) in the subcallosal subventricular zone (SVZ), and then differentiate to generate myelinating OLs. However, the signals that regulate these processes are not fully understood. In this study, we show that endogenous expression of the retinoic acid (RA)-synthesizing enzyme retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (RALDH2) is required for OPC generation and differentiation in the postnatal subcortical white matter. In male and female pups, conditional deletion of Raldh2 reduced OPC numbers and differentiation. Moreover, decreased OPC numbers coincided with reductions in NSC survival and expression of the sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling effector protein Gli1 in the SVZ. Additionally, GFAP expression in the CC was decreased, and cortical neuron numbers were altered. Our work suggests a role for endogenous RALDH2-dependent RA synthesis in OPC production and differentiation in the CC, as well as in the development of other cell types derived from NSCs in the embryonic ventricular zone (VZ) and SVZ, as well as the postnatal subcallosal SVZ.

Keywords: meninges; oligodendrocyte precursor cells; oligodendrocytes; postnatal; retinoic acid; subcortical white matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Corpus Callosum*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells*
  • Oligodendroglia
  • Tretinoin* / physiology


  • Tretinoin
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • RALDH2 protein, mouse