Current Medical Science

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 67–74 | Cite as

Age-related Changes in the Global DNA Methylation Profile of Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells Derived from Rat Spinal Cords

  • Jing Zhou
  • Yong-chao Wu
  • Bao-jun Xiao
  • Xiao-dong Guo
  • Qi-xin Zheng
  • Bin WuEmail author


Demyelination of axons plays an important role in the pathology of many spinal cord diseases and injuries. Remyelination in demyelinated lesions is primarily performed by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), which generate oligodendrocytes in the developing and mature central nervous system. The efficiency of remyelination decreases with age. Many reports suggest that this decline in remyelination results from impaired OPC recruitment and differentiation during aging. Of the various molecular mechanisms involved in aging, changes in epigenetic modifications have received particular attention. Global DNA methylation is a major epigenetic modification that plays important roles in cellular senescence and organismal aging. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the dynamic changes in the global DNA methylation profiles of OPCs derived from rat spinal cords during the aging process. We separated and cultured OPCs from the spinal cords of neonatal, 4-month-old, and 16-month-old rats and investigated the age-related alterations of genomic DNA methylation levels by using quantitative colorimetric analysis. To determine the potential cause of dynamic changes in global DNA methylation, we further analyzed the activity of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and the expression of DNMT1, DNMT3a, DNMT3b, TET1, TET2, TET3, MBD2, and MeCP2 in the OPCs from each group. Our results showed the genomic DNA methylation level and the activity of DNMTs from OPCs derived from rat spinal cords decreased gradually during aging, and OPCs from 16-month-old rats were characterized by global hypomethylation. During OPC aging, the mRNA and protein expression levels of DNMT3a, DNMT3b, and MeCP2 were significantly elevated; those of DNMT1 were significantly down-regulated; and no significant changes were observed in those for TET1, TET2, TET3, or MBD2. Our results indicated that global DNA hypomethylation in aged OPCs is correlated with DNMT1 downregulation. Together, these data provide important evidence for partly elucidating the mechanism of age-related impaired OPC recruitment and differentiation and assist in the development of new treatments for promoting efficient remyelination.

Key words

T2 mapping Duchenne muscular dystrophy skeletal muscle fat infiltration 


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Copyright information

© Huazhong University of Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Zhou
    • 1
  • Yong-chao Wu
    • 2
  • Bao-jun Xiao
    • 2
  • Xiao-dong Guo
    • 2
  • Qi-xin Zheng
    • 2
  • Bin Wu
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedics, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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