Synthetic Thyroid Hormone Receptor-β Agonists Promote Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cell Differentiation in the Presence of Inflammatory Challenges

Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2023 Aug 25;16(9):1207. doi: 10.3390/ph16091207.


Oligodendrocytes and their precursors are the cells responsible for developmental myelination and myelin repair during adulthood. Their differentiation and maturation processes are regulated by a complex molecular machinery driven mainly by triiodothyronine (T3), the genomic active form of thyroid hormone, which binds to thyroid hormone receptors (TRs), regulating the expression of target genes. Different molecular tools have been developed to mimic T3 action in an attempt to overcome the myelin repair deficit that underlies various central nervous system pathologies. In this study, we used a well-established in vitro model of neural stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) to test the effects of two compounds: the TRβ1 ligand IS25 and its pro-drug TG68. We showed that treatment with TG68 induces OPC differentiation/maturation as well as both the natural ligand and the best-known TRβ1 synthetic ligand, GC-1. We then described that, unlike T3, TG68 can fully overcome the cytokine-mediated oligodendrocyte differentiation block. In conclusion, we showed the ability of a new synthetic compound to stimulate OPC differentiation and overcome inflammation-mediated pathological conditions. Further studies will clarify whether the compound acts as a pro-drug to produce the TRβ1 ligand IS25 or if its action is mediated by secondary mechanisms such as AMPK activation.

Keywords: TG68; inflammation; oligodendrocyte precursor cells; thyroid hormone receptors; thyromimetics.