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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Neuronal CTGF/CCN2 negatively regulates myelination in a mouse model of tuberous sclerosis complex.

  • Author(s): Ercan, Ebru
  • Han, Juliette M
  • Di Nardo, Alessia
  • Winden, Kellen
  • Han, Min-Joon
  • Hoyo, Leonie
  • Saffari, Afshin
  • Leask, Andrew
  • Geschwind, Daniel H
  • Sahin, Mustafa
  • et al.

Disruption of myelination during development has been implicated in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders including tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC patients with autism display impairments in white matter integrity. Similarly, mice lacking neuronal Tsc1 have a hypomyelination phenotype. However, the mechanisms that underlie these phenotypes remain unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that neuronal TSC1/2 orchestrates a program of oligodendrocyte maturation through the regulated secretion of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). We characterize oligodendrocyte maturation both in vitro and in vivo. We find that neuron-specific Tsc1 deletion results in an increase in CTGF secretion that non-cell autonomously stunts oligodendrocyte development and decreases the total number of oligodendrocytes. Genetic deletion of CTGF from neurons, in turn, mitigates the TSC-dependent hypomyelination phenotype. These results show that the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in neurons regulates CTGF production and secretion, revealing a paracrine mechanism by which neuronal signaling regulates oligodendrocyte maturation and myelination in TSC. This study highlights the role of mTOR-dependent signaling between neuronal and nonneuronal cells in the regulation of myelin and identifies an additional therapeutic avenue for this disease.

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