J Neurocytol. 2002 Jul-Aug;31(6-7):523-36
Reynolds R, Dawson M, Papadopoulos D, Polito A, Di Bello IC, Pham-Dinh D, Levine J.
Department of Neuroinflammation, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, Charing Cross Campus, London W6 8RF, UK.
Remyelination of primary demyelinated lesions is a common feature of experimental models of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is also suggested to be the normal response to demyelination during the early stages of MS itself.
Many lines of evidence have shown that remyelination is preceded by the division of endogenous oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in the lesion and its borders.
It is suggested that this rapid response of OPCs to repopulate the lesion site and their subsequent differentiation into new oligodendrocytes is the key to the rapid remyelination.
Antibodies to the NG2 chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan have proved exceedingly useful in following and quantitating the response of endogenous OPCs to demyelination.
Here we review the literature on the response of NG2-expressing OPCs to demyelination and provide some new evidence on their response to the chronic inflammatory demyelinating environment seen in recombinant myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) induced experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in the DA rat.
NG2-expressing OPCs responded to the inflammatory demyelination in this model by becoming reactive and increasing in number in a very focal manner.
Evidence of NG2(+) OPCs in lesioned areas beginning to express the oligodendrocyte marker CNP was also seen.
The response of OPCs appeared to occur following successive relapses but did not always lead to remyelination, with areas of chronic demyelination observed in the spinal cord.
The presence of OPCs in the adult human CNS is clearly of vital importance for repair in multiple sclerosis (MS).
As in rat tissue, the antibody labels an evenly distributed cell population present in both white and grey matter, distinct from HLA-DR(+) microglia.
NG2(+) cells are sparsely distributed in the centre of chronic MS lesions.
These cells apparently survive demyelination and exhibit a multi-processed or bipolar morphology in the very hypocellular environment of the lesion.