Induction of cerebroside synthesis in oligodendroglia
Oligodendroglia function to produce myelin membranes which surround axons, enhancing saltatory conduction. Myelin consists of a multitude of condensed membranes which are rich in lipids with the major glycolipids, cerebrosides, being 25% of the total lipid. Thus a fully differentiated oligodendroglial cell that is producing myelin membranes would be actively synthesizing cerebrosides. Our laboratory has prepared and analyzed oligodendroglia from mature bovine brain, from neonatal rat brain, and from actively myelinating rat brain. Our studies suggest that the rat oligodendroglia in our culture systems are less differentiated than bovine cells in that they produce lower levels of cerebrosides. Addition of glucocorticoids, thyroid hormone, or retinoic acid all increased synthesis of cerebrosides in rat oligodendroglia. Ketone bodies were also somewhat stimulatory. Having no effect or causing dedifferentiation of the cells were 5-azacytidine and phorbol esters. Thus induction of cerebroside synthesis in oligodendroglia is complex and may involve many factors.
Key WordsOligodendroglia cerebrosides differentiation growth factors
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