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Anti-inflammatory treatment induced regenerative oligodendrogenesis in parkinsonian mice

Maik MA Worlitzer12, Eva C Bunk1, Kathrin Hemmer1 and Jens C Schwamborn12*

Author Affiliations

1 Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, ZMBE, Institute of Cell Biology, Stem Cell Biology and Regeneration Group, Von-Esmarch-Str. 56, 48149 Münster, Germany

2 Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF) Münster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, Gebäude D3, Domagkstraße 3, 48149 Münster, Germany

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Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2012, 3:33  doi:10.1186/scrt124

Published: 14 August 2012



The adult mammalian brain retains niches for neural stem cells (NSCs), which can generate glial and neuronal components of the brain tissue. However, it is barely established how chronic neuroinflammation, as it occurs in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, affects adult neurogenesis and, therefore, modulates the brain's potential for self-regeneration.


Neural stem cell culture techniques, intraventricular tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α infusion and the 6-hydroxydopamine mouse model were used to investigate the influence of neuroinflammation on adult neurogenesis in the Parkinson's disease background. Microscopic methods and behavioral tests were used to analyze samples.


Here, we demonstrate that differences in the chronicity of TNF-α application to cultured NSCs result in opposed effects on their proliferation. However, chronic TNF-α treatment, mimicking Parkinson's disease associated neuroinflammation, shows detrimental effects on neural progenitor cell activity. Inversely, pharmacological inhibition of neuroinflammation in a 6-hydroxydopamine mouse model led to increased neural progenitor cell proliferation in the subventricular zone and neuroblast migration into the lesioned striatum. Four months after surgery, we measured improved Parkinson's disease-associated behavior, which was correlated with long-term anti-inflammatory treatment. But surprisingly, instead of newly generated striatal neurons, oligodendrogenesis in the striatum of treated mice was enhanced.


We conclude that anti-inflammatory treatment, in a 6-hydroxydopamine mouse model for Parkinson's disease, leads to activation of adult neural stem cells. These adult neural stem cells generate striatal oligodendrocytes. The higher numbers of newborn oligodendrocytes possibly contribute to axonal stability and function in this mouse model of Parkinson's disease and thereby attenuate dysfunctions of basalganglian motor-control.