Ortega MC, Bribián A, Peregrín S, Gil MT, Marín O, de Castro F (2012) Neuregulin-1/ErbB4 signaling controls the migration of oligodendrocyte precursor cells during development. Exp Neurol 235: 610-20

During embryonic development, the oligodendrocyte precursors (OPCs) are generated in specific oligodendrogliogenic sites within the neural tube and migrate to colonize the entire CNS. Different factors have been shown to influence the OPC migration and differentiation, including morphogens, growth factors, chemotropic molecules, and extracellular matrix proteins. Neuregulins have been shown to influence the migration of neuronal precursors as well as the movement and differentiation of Schwann cells for peripheral myelination, but their role in the motility of OPCs has not been explored. In the present study, we have used the optic nerve as an experimental model to examine the function of Nrg1 and its ErbB4 receptor in the migration of OPCs in the developing embryo. In vitro experiments revealed that Nrg1 is a potent chemoattractant for the first wave of OPCs, and that this effect is mediated via ErbB4 receptor. In contrast, OPCs colonizing the optic nerve at postnatal stages (PDGFR?(+)-OPCs) does not respond to Nrg1-chemoattraction. We also found that mouse embryos lacking ErbB4 display deficits in early OPC migration away from different oligodendrogliogenic regions in vivo. The present findings reveal a new role for Nrg1/ErbB4 signaling in regulating OPC migration selectively during early stages of CNS development.

Pubmed: 22504067