An in vitro model for de- and remyelination using lysophosphatidyl choline in rodent whole brain spheroid cultures Academic Article uri icon


  • The process of demyelination occurring in diseases as multiple sclerosis is usually investigated in animal models. A major drawback of animal models is that only one condition can be tested per animal, necessitating many animals and systemic effects are factors to be considered. The aim of the study was to develop a reproducible in vitro model for de- and remyelination using whole brain spheroid cultures and lysophosphatidyl choline (LPC). In spheroid cultures, single cell suspensions of embryonic day 15 rodent brain cells reaggregate under constant rotation. Three-dimensional contacts form between the central nervous system cell types present. Multilayered myelin is maximal in four-week old cultures. A week of repeated exposure to LPC led to 30% loss of MBP protein concentration and 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase activity measurements in both rat and mouse spheroids and 56% loss in the number of myelin sheets, with partial remyelination after a week of recovery. The number of dividing cells was increased after LPC exposure and oligodendrocytes were shown to be among the dividing cells. Microglia and astrocytes were not affected and neurons were relatively spared. This suggests that LPC toxicity is specific for myelin and oligodendrocytes. LPC toxicity could be decreased using cholesterol and simvastatin, suggesting that LPC works through altering membrane composition. Thus, in different rodent species and using different read-outs, we could reproducibly show de- and remyelination in spheroid cultures after LPC exposure. This model for demyelination with potential for remyelination offers possibilities for testing novel therapies and studying mechanisms of remyelination.


  • Vereyken, EJF
  • Fluitsma, DM
  • Bolijn, MJ
  • Dijkstra, CD
  • Teunissen, CE

publication date

  • September 2009

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