Single-cell omics in oligodendroglia: opening doors to understand multiple sclerosis

Dr. Ana Falcao; Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) University of Minho, Portugal

Single-cell omics have shaped our understanding of cellular heterogeneity. Oligodendroglial cells, the myelinating cells of the central nervous system, were no exception. There are up to thirteen different oligodendroglial populations in the healthy central nervous system. What happens to these different populations in diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS)? Do they react or are affected differently? To answer these questions we have performed single cell/nucleus transcriptomic analysis of oligodendroglial cells from both human postmortem MS tissue, and MS animal models. Excitingly, we found that unique oligodendroglial populations emerge in response to disease. Of notice, we uncovered a subset of oligodendrocytes and their progenitor populations expressing genes involved in antigen processing and presentation implying alternative functions of these cells in a disease context. Our results suggest that oligodendroglial cells are not passive targets but instead active immunomodulators in MS.


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