Conditional Deletion of Foxg1 Alleviates Demyelination and Facilitates Remyelination via the Wnt Signaling Pathway in Cuprizone-Induced Demyelinated Mice

Fuxing Dong 1,2• Dajin Liu 1• Feiyu Jiang 1• Yaping Liu 1• Xiuxiang Wu 1•Xuebin Qu 1• Jing Liu 1
• Yan Chen 1• Hongbin Fan 3• Ruiqin Yao 1

1 Department of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Xuzhou Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of New Drug Research and Clinical Pharmacy, Xuzhou Medical
University, Xuzhou 221004, China
2 Public Experimental Research Center, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou 221004, China
3 Department of Neurology, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou 221006, China


The massive loss of oligodendrocytes caused by various pathological factors is a basic feature of many demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Based on a variety of studies, it is now well established that impairment of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) to differentiate and remyelinate axons is a vital event in the failed treatment of demyelinating diseases. Recent evidence suggests that Foxg1 is essential for the proliferation of certain precursors and inhibits premature neurogenesis during brain development. To date, very little attention has been paid to the role of Foxg1 in the proliferation and differentiation of OPCs in demyelinating diseases of the CNS. Here, for the first time, we examined the effects of Foxg1 on demyelination and remyelination in the brain using a cuprizone (CPZ)-induced mouse model. In this work, 7-week-old Foxg1 conditional knockout and wild-type (WT) mice were fed a diet containing 0.2% CPZ w/w for 5 weeks, after which CPZ was withdrawn to enable remyelination. Our results demonstrated that, compared with WT mice, Foxg1-knockout mice exhibited not only alleviated demyelination but also accelerated remyelination of the demyelinated corpus callosum. Furthermore, we found that Foxg1 knockout decreased the proliferation of OPCs and accelerated their differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes both in vivo and in vitro. Wnt signaling plays a critical role in development and in a variety of diseases. GSK-3β, a key regulatory kinase in the Wnt pathway, regulates the ability of β-catenin to enter nuclei, where it activates the expression of Wnt target genes. We then used SB216763, a selective inhibitor of GSK-3β activity, to further demonstrate the regulatory mechanism by which Foxg1 affects OPCs in vitro. The results showed that SB216763 clearly inhibited the expression of GSK-3β, which abolished the effect of the proliferation and differentiation of OPCs caused by the knockdown of Foxg1. These results suggest that Foxg1 is involved in the proliferation and differentiation of OPCs through the Wnt signaling pathway. The present experimental results are some of the first to suggest that Foxg1 is a new therapeutic target for the treatment of demyelinating diseases of the CNS.


Foxg1;  Oligodendrocyte precursor cells ; Demyelination;  Remyelination;  Wnt


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