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Title: CX3CR1/CX3CL1 axis drives the migration and maturation of oligodendroglia in the central nervous system
Author: Ford, Catriona Barbara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 3605
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2017
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In the central nervous system, the axons of neurons are protected from damage and aided in electrical conductivity by the myelin sheath, a complex of proteins and lipids formed by oligodendrocytes. Loss or damage to the myelin sheath may result in impairment of electrical axonal conduction and eventually to neuronal death. Such demyelination is responsible, at least in part, for the disabling neurodegeneration observed in pathologies such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Spinal Cord Injury. In the regenerative process of remyelination, oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), the resident glial stem cell population of the adult CNS, migrate toward the injury site, proliferate and differentiate into adult oligodendrocytes which subsequently reform the myelin sheath. Existing research indicates that OPC migration is directed by chemomigratory signals released from the site of injury and that the absence of OPCs is a feature of some MS lesions, suggesting that increased recruitment of OPCs to injury sites might improve remyelination, eventually leading to treatments of patient pathologies. I hypothesized that as yet undiscovered migration cues for OPCs might be released at sites of demyelination, diffuse through the CNS tissue, activate distal OPCs and guide them back to sites of demyelination. In this thesis, I performed bioinformatics analysis of gene expression arrays and identified upregulated cell surface receptors on OPCs activated in a cuprizone model, and upregulated secreted factors in whole lesion sites from an LPC induced MS type injury model and a Spinal Cord Injury model. I then optimised the X-celligence system for the quantification of OPC migration in response to secreted factors identified in my bioinformatics screen. By combination of these techniques with immunofluorescent staining I discovered novel expression of the cell surface receptor CX3CR1 on OPCs, increased expression of the corresponding ligand CX3CL1 in both MS type injury and Spinal Cord Injury, increased directional migration of OPCs in response to low concentrations of CX3CL1, and increased maturation of OPCs into adult oligodendrocytes at high concentrations of CX3CL1. Taken together these results propose a system in which an increasing gradient of CX3CL1 released from the site of injury directs the recruitment, then maturation of OPCs, making CX3CL1 a master regulator of OPC led CNS regeneration.
Supervisor: Williams, Anna ; Tomlinson, Simon Sponsor: Medical Research Council (MRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: oligodendrocytes ; fractalkine ; OPC ; CX3CL1 ; CX3CR1 ; migration ; regeneration ; stem cells