Activity-dependent myelination is thought to contribute to adaptive neurological function. However, the mechanisms by which activity regulates myelination and the extent to which myelin plasticity contributes to non-motor cognitive functions remain incompletely understood. Using a mouse model of chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment (CRCI), we recently demonstrated that methotrexate (MTX) chemotherapy induces complex glial dysfunction for which microglial activation is central. Here, we demonstrate that remote MTX exposure blocks activity-regulated myelination. MTX decreases cortical Bdnf expression, which is restored by microglial depletion. Bdnf-TrkB signaling is a required component of activity-dependent myelination. Oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC)-specific TrkB deletion in chemotherapy-naive mice results in impaired cognitive behavioral performance. A small-molecule TrkB agonist rescues both myelination and cognitive impairment after MTX chemotherapy. This rescue after MTX depends on intact TrkB expression in OPCs. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a molecular mechanism required for adaptive myelination that is aberrant in CRCI due to microglial activation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.04.032
View details for PubMedID 31122677