Stem Cells. 2020 Oct 27. doi: 10.1002/stem.3287. Online ahead of print
In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), proper development of Schwann cells (SCs) contributing to axonal myelination is critical for neuronal function. Impairments of SCs or neuronal axons give rise to several myelin‐related disorders, including dysmyelinating and demyelinating diseases. Pathological mechanisms, however, have been understood at the elementary level and targeted therapeutics has remained undeveloped. Here, we identify Fibulin 5 (FBLN5), an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein, as a key paracrine factor of human Wharton's jelly‐derived mesenchymal stem cells (WJ‐MSCs) to control the development of SCs. We show that co‐culture with WJ‐MSCs or treatment of recombinant FBLN5 promotes the proliferation of SCs through ERK activation, whereas FBLN5‐depleted WJ‐MSCs do not. We further reveal that during myelination of SCs, FBLN5 binds to Integrin and modulates actin remodeling, such as the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia, through RAC1 activity. Finally, we show that FBLN5 effectively restores the myelination defects of SCs in the zebrafish model of Charcot‐Marie‐Tooth (CMT) type 1, a representative demyelinating disease. Overall, our data propose human WJ‐MSCs or FBLN5 protein as a potential treatment for myelin‐related diseases, including CMT.
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