Oligodendrocytes are myelinating cells of the central nervous system. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease characterized by both myelin loss and neuronal degeneration. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal degeneration in demyelinating disorders are not fully understood. In the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) demyelinatingmouse model of MS, inflammatory microglia produce cytokines, including interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Since microglia and noncanonical Wnt signaling components in neurons, such as the coreceptor Ror2, were observed in the spinal cords of mice with EAE (EAE mice), we postulated that the interplay between activated microglia and spinal neurons under EAE conditions is mediated through noncanonical Wnt signaling. EAE treatment upregulated in vivo expression of noncanonical Wnt signaling components in spinal neurons through microglial activation. In accordance with the neuronal degeneration detected in the EAE spinal cord in vivo, coculture of spinal neurons with microglia or the application of recombinant IL-1β upregulated noncanonical Wnt signaling and induced neuron death, which was suppressed by the inhibition of the Wnt-Ror2 pathway. Ectopic noncanonical Wnt signaling aggravated the demyelinating pathology in another MS mouse model due to Wnt5a-induced neurodegeneration. The linkage between activated microglia and neuronal Wnt-Ror2 signaling may provide a candidate target for therapeutic approaches to demyelinating disorders.

doi.org/10.1128/MCB.00139-16, hdl.handle.net/1765/93786
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Shimizu, T. (Takeshi), Smits, R., & Ikenaka, K. (Kazuhiro). (2016). Microglia-induced activation of noncanonical Wnt signaling aggravates neurodegeneration in demyelinating disorders. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 36(21), 2728–2741. doi:10.1128/MCB.00139-16