Developing and mature oligodendrocytes respond differently to the immune cytokine interferon-gamma

Kristine D. Baerwald, Brian Popko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Increasing evidence suggests that the immune cytokine interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) plays a deleterious role in immune-mediated demyelinating disorders. To further understand the effects of IFN-γ on oligodendrocytes, we have compared and quantitated the response of developing and mature oligodendrocytes in vitro to IFN-γ and have observed several differences. Morphological changes and cell death occurred in developing cultures after 2 days in IFN-γ, and in mature oligodendrocytes after 4-7 days. Developing oligodendrocytes underwent significantly increased apoptotic cell death in the presence of IFN-γ, but mature oligodendrocytes exposed to IFN-γ died of necrosis. Prior to morphological changes or cell death in mature oligodendrocytes exposed to IFN-γ, steady-state levels of myelin-specific mRNAs and proteins were reduced. Thus, these results indicate that the sensitivity of oligodendrocytes to IFN-γ is related to the developmental state of the cell. Such information is crucial for understanding the response of oligodendrocytes in immune-mediated demyelinating disorders and during remyelination in these diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-239
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 1998


  • Apoptosis
  • Cytokine
  • Development
  • Myelination
  • Necrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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