Journal of Neuroscience, Mar 2011

Inhibition of CNS remyelination by the presence of semaphorin 3A

Syed YA, Hand E, Moebius W, Zhao C, Hofer M, Nave KA, Kotter MR

Failure of oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) differentiation has been recognized as the leading cause for the failure of myelin regeneration in diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). One explanation for the failure of OPC differentiation in MS is the presence of inhibitory molecules in demyelinated lesions. So far only a few inhibitory substrates have been identified in MS lesions. Semaphorin 3A (Sema3A), a secreted member of the semaphorin family, can act as repulsive guidance cue for neuronal and glial cells in the CNS. Recent studies suggest that Sema3A is also expressed in active MS lesions. However, the implication of Sema3A expression in MS lesions remains unclear as OPCs are commonly present in chronic demyelinated lesions. In the present study we identify Sema3A as a potent, selective, and reversible inhibitor of OPC differentiation in vitro. Furthermore, we show that administration of Sema3A into demyelinating lesions in the rat CNS results in a failure of remyelination. Our results imply an important role for Sema3A in the differentiation block occurring in MS lesions.

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