Altered human oligodendrocyte heterogeneity in multiple sclerosis

Journal: Nature

Published: 2019-01-23

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-0903-2

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 10

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Research Highlight

Some myelin-making cells missing in multiple sclerosis

© ROGER HARRIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

© ROGER HARRIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

The brains of people with multiple sclerosis have different kinds of oligodendrocyte cells than people without the disease, even in brain regions not thought affected by the chronic inflammatory disorder.

The study — one of the first to use single-cell RNA sequencing to interrogate a neurological disease — could help explain how multiple sclerosis progresses and how to improve treatment strategies.

Oligodendrocytes help wrap nerve fibres in the protective myelin sheath that is lost in multiple sclerosis.

Starting with single oligodendrocytes from the white matter of healthy brains, a research team that included scientists from Roche identified many subpopulations of these myelin-making cells. In brains from multiple sclerosis-affected patients, however, certain subpopulations were missing or altered, both within disease lesions and in normal-appearing tissue.

The findings could help explain why the restoration of damaged myelin is impaired in multiple sclerosis.

Supported content

  1. Nature 566, 543–547 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-0903-2
Institutions Share
Division of Molecular Neurobiology, KI, Sweden 0.45
Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (Roche pRED), Switzerland 0.20
MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM), The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK) 0.15
MS Society Edinburgh Centre for MS Research, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK) 0.15
Ming Wai Lau Center for Regenerative Medicine, KI, Sweden 0.05

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