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Post-injury born oligodendrocytes incorporate into the glial scar and contribute to the inhibition of axon regeneration

Xing, J;Lukomska, A;Rheaume, BA;Kim, J;Sajid, MS;Damania, A;Trakhtenberg, EF;

Failure of central nervous system (CNS) projection neurons to spontaneously regenerate long-distance axons underlies irreversibility of white matter pathologies. A barrier to axonal regenerative research is that the axons regenerating in response to experimental treatments stall growth before reaching post-synaptic targets. Here, we test the hypothesis that the interaction of regenerating axons with live oligodendrocytes, which were absent during developmental axon growth, contributes to stalling axonal growth. To test this hypothesis, first, we used single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) and immunohistology to investigate whether post-injury born oligodendrocytes incorporate into the glial scar after optic nerve injury. Then, we administered demyelination-inducing cuprizone and stimulated axon regeneration by Pten knockdown (KD) after optic nerve crush. We found that post-injury born oligodendrocyte lineage cells incorporate into the glial scar, where they are susceptible to the demyelination diet, which reduced their presence in the glial scar. We further found that the demyelination diet enhanced Pten KD-stimulated axon regeneration, and localized cuprizone injection promoted axon regeneration. We also present a website for comparing the gene expression of scRNA-seq-profiled normal and injured optic nerve oligodendrocyte lineage cells.