Leptin affects oligodendroglial development in the mouse embryonic cerebral cortex.

OBJECTIVE: Leptin, which is an obese gene product, decreases appetite and increases energy expenditure in adults. In our previous study, leptin was found to maintain neural stem cells and/or progenitor cells, preferentially astrocyte/oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, whereas it reduces the proportion of oligodendrocyte lineage-restricted precursor cells. It has been reported that leptin-deficient (ob/ob) mice have lower levels of glial proteins than wild-type mice. These findings suggest that leptin affects the development of glial cells. In this study, therefore, we investigated oligodendrocyte development in the cerebral cortex of ob/ob and wild-type mouse embryos by histochemistry.

METHODS: We obtained ob/ob or wild-type (C57BL/6J) embryos on embryonic day (E) 18. We performed immunohistochemistry in the embryonic cerebrum with antibodies against NG2, platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha (PDGFR-alpha) and leptin receptor (Ob-R). In the cerebral cortex, we compared the number of the oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), which are immunopositive for NG2 and/or PDGFR-alpha, between ob/ob and wild-type embryos.

RESULTS: We revealed that ob/ob embryos had significantly more OPCs than wild-type embryos on E18. PDGFR-alpha-positive OPCs did not coexpress leptin receptor in the cerebral cortex.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that leptin inhibits differentiation of multipotent and/or glial progenitor cells into OPCs in the mouse embryonic cerebral cortex, but it does not directly act on OPCs.