Oligodendrocytes are myelin-forming glia that ensheath the axons of neurons in the CNS. Recent studies have revealed that Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays important roles in oligodendrocyte development and myelin formation. However, there are conflicting reports on the specific function of Wnt signaling components in oligodendrocyte specification and differentiation. In the present study, we demonstrate that activation of β-catenin in neural progenitor cells before gliogenesis inhibits the generation of oligodendrocyte progenitors (OLPs) in mice. Once OLPs are formed, β-catenin becomes necessary for oligodendrocyte differentiation. Disruption of β-catenin signaling instead leads to a significant delay of oligodendrocyte maturation. These findings suggest that Wnt/β-catenin pathway regulates oligodendrocyte development in a stage-dependent manner.
- Oligodendrocyte differentiation
- Spinal cord
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