The precise timing of neural progenitor development and the correct balance between proliferation and differentiation are crucial to generating a functional brain. The number, survival, and differentiation of neural progenitors during postnatal neurogenesis and gliogenesis is a highly regulated process. Postnatally, the majority of brain oligodendrocytes are generated from progenitors residing in the subventricular zone (SVZ), the germinal niche surrounding the lateral ventricles. In this study, we demonstrate that the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) is highly expressed by OPCs in the postnatal male and female rat SVZ. Whereas the p75NTR is known to initiate apoptotic signaling after brain injury, it is highly expressed by proliferating progenitors in the SVZ, suggesting that it may have a different function during development. Lack of p75NTR reduced progenitor proliferation and caused premature oligodendrocyte differentiation and maturation both in vitro and in vivo, leading to aberrant early myelin formation. Our data reveal a novel role for p75NTR as a rheostat for oligodendrocyte production and maturation during myelin formation in the postnatal rat brain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- postnatal development
- subventricular zone