The trophic role of oligodendrocytes in the basal forebrain

Xudong Dai, Lauren D. Lercher, Patricia M. Clinton, Yangzhou Du, Denise L. Livingston, Cristina Vieira, Lu Yang, Michael M. Shen, Cheryl F. Dreyfus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Traditionally, the primary function of oligodendrocytes (OLGs) in the CNS has been considered to be myelination. Here, we investigated whether OLGs may play a trophic role, particularly during development. Neurotrophin expression was assessed in postnatal day 7 basal forebrain (BF) OLGs, using in situ hybridization and detection of myelin basic protein. Nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) mRNAs were revealed in OLGs in vivo and in culture. To determine whether OLGs support nearby neurons, we examined the influence of OLGs on BF cholinergic neurons. Neuronal function was enhanced by cocultured OLGs and OLG conditioned medium. Moreover, trophic effects of OLG conditioned medium were partially blocked by K252a, a trk tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and by neutralizing anti-BDNF or anti-NT-3 antisera, indicating that neurotrophins may mediate these effects, perhaps in concert with other signals. Our studies support a novel role for OLGs in providing local trophic support for neurons in the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5846-5853
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • BDNF
  • Basal forebrain
  • NGF
  • NT-3
  • Oligodendrocytes
  • Trophic role of oligodendrocytes on cholinergic neurons

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The trophic role of oligodendrocytes in the basal forebrain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this