Oligodendrocyte-specific loss of Cdk5 disrupts the architecture of nodes of Ranvier as well as learning and memory

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Abstract

Myelination of the central nervous system is important for normal motor and sensory neuronal function and recent studies also link it to efficient learning and memory. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is required for normal oligodendrocyte development, myelination and myelin repair. Here we show that conditional deletion of Cdk5 by targeting with CNP (CNP;Cdk5 CKO) results in hypomyelination and disruption of the structural integrity of Nodes of Ranvier. In addition, CNP;Cdk5 CKO mice exhibited a severe impairment of learning and memory compared to controls that may reflect perturbed neuron-glial interactions. Co-culture of cortical neurons with CNP;Cdk5 CKO oligodendrocyte lineage cells resulted in a significant reduction in the density of neuronal dendritic spines. In short term fear-conditioning studies, CNP;Cdk5 CKO mice had decreased hippocampal levels of immediate early genes such as Arc and Fos, and lower levels of p-CREB and p-cofilin suggested these pathways are affected by the levels of myelination. The novel roles of Cdk5 in oligodendrocyte lineage cells may provide insights for helping understand the cognitive changes sometimes seen in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

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