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Jong, Charlotte G. H. M. de; Stancic, Mirjana; Pinxterhuis, Tineke H.; Horssen, Jack van; Dam, Anne-Marie van; Gabius, Hans-Joachim; Baron, Wia (2018): Galectin-4, a Negative Regulator of Oligodendrocyte Differentiation, Is Persistently Present in Axons and Microglia/Macrophages in Multiple Sclerosis Lesions. In: Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, Vol. 77, No. 11: pp. 1024-1038
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Abstract

Neuron-derived molecules are potent regulators of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination during brain development and upon demyelination. Their analysis will thus contribute to understanding remyelination failure in demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Previously, we have identified neuronal galectin-4 as a novel negative soluble regulator in the timing of developmental myelination. Here, we investigated whether galectin-4 is re-expressed in axons upon demyelination to regulate the timing of remyelination. Our findings revealed that galectin-4 is transiently localized to axons in demyelinated areas upon cuprizone-induced demyelination. In contrast, in chronic demyelinated MS lesions, where remyelination fails, galectin-4 is permanently present on axons. Remarkably, microglia/macrophages in cuprizone-demyelinated areas also harbor galectin-4, as also observed in activated microglia/macrophages that are present in active MS lesions and in inflammatory infiltrates in chronic-relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. In vitro analysis showed that galectin-4 is effectively endocytosed by macrophages, and may scavenge galectin-4 from oligodendrocytes, and that endogenous galectin-4 levels are increased in alternatively interleukin-4-activated macrophages and microglia. Hence, similar to developmental myelination, the (re)expressed galectin-4 upon demyelination may act as factor in the timing of oligodendrocyte differentiation, while the persistent presence of galectin-4 on demyelinated axons may disrupt this fine-tuning of remyelination.