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Abnormal myelination underlies the pathology of white matter diseases such as preterm white matter injury and multiple sclerosis. Osteopontin (OPN) has been suggested to play a role in myelination. Murine OPN mRNA is translated into a secreted isoform (sOPN) or an intracellular isoform (iOPN). Whether there is an isoform-specific involvement of OPN in myelination is unknown. Here we generated mouse models that either lacked both OPN isoforms in all cells (OPN-KO) or lacked sOPN systemically but expressed iOPN specifically in oligodendrocytes (OLs-iOPN-KI). Transcriptome analysis of isolated oligodendrocytes from the neonatal brain showed that genes and pathways related to increase of myelination and altered cell cycle control were enriched in the absence of the two OPN isoforms in OPN-KO mice compared to control mice. Accordingly, adult OPN-KO mice showed an increased axonal myelination, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy imaging, and increased expression of myelin-related proteins. In contrast, neonatal oligodendrocytes from OLs-iOPN-KI mice compared to control mice showed differential regulation of genes and pathways related to the increase of cell adhesion, motility, and vasculature development, and the decrease of axonal/neuronal development. OLs-iOPN-KI mice showed abnormal myelin formation in the early phase of myelination in young mice and signs of axonal degeneration in adulthood. These results suggest an OPN isoform-specific involvement, and a possible interplay between the isoforms, in myelination, and axonal integrity. Thus, the two isoforms of OPN need to be separately considered in therapeutic strategies targeting OPN in white matter injury and diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


FASEB BioAdvances

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