Demyelination induces transport of ribosome-containing vesicles from glia to axons: evidence from animal models and MS patient brains

Antos Shakhbazau, Geert J. Schenk, Curtis Hay, Jean Kawasoe, Roel Klaver, V. Wee Yong, Jeroen J. G. Geurts, Jan van Minnen

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Glial cells were previously proven capable of trafficking polyribosomes to injured axons. However, the occurrence of such transfer in the general pathological context, such as demyelination-related diseases, needs further evidence. Since this may be a yet unidentified universal contributor to axonal survival, we study putative glia–axonal ribosome transport in response to demyelination in animal models and patients in both peripheral and central nervous system. In the PNS we investigate whether demyelination in a rodent model has the potential to induce ribosome transfer. We also probe the glia–axonal ribosome supply by implantation of transgenic Schwann cells engineered to produce fluorescent ribosomes in the same demyelination model. We furthermore examine the presence of axonal ribosomes in mouse experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a well-established model for multiple sclerosis (MS), and in human MS autopsy brain material. We provide evidence for increased axonal ribosome content in a pharmacologically demyelinated sciatic nerve, and demonstrate that at least part of these ribosomes originate in the transgenic Schwann cells. In the CNS one of the hallmarks of MS is demyelination, which is associated with severe disruption of oligodendrocyte–axon interaction. Here, we provide evidence that axons from spinal cords of EAE mice, and in the MS human brain contain an elevated amount of axonal ribosomes compared to controls. Our data provide evidence that increased axonal ribosome content in pathological axons is at least partly due to glia-to-axon transfer of ribosomes, and that demyelination in the PNS and in the CNS is one of the triggers capable to initiate this process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-507
JournalMolecular Biology Reports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Demyelination
  • EAE
  • GFP
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Ribosome
  • Schwann cell
  • Vesicle

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