Immunoablation of cells expressing the NG2 chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan

Giampaolo Leoni, Marcus Rattray, Daniel Fulton, Andrea Rivera, Arthur M. Butt

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Expression of the transmembrane NG2 chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan (CSPG) defines a distinct population of NG2-glia. NG2-glia serve as a regenerative pool of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells in the adult central nervous system (CNS), which is important for demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and are a major component of the glial scar that inhibits axon regeneration after CNS injury. In addition, NG2-glia form unique neuron–glial synapses with unresolved functions. However, to date it has proven difficult to study the importance of NG2-glia in any of these functions using conventional transgenic NG2 ‘knockout’ mice. To overcome this, we aimed to determine whether NG2-glia can be targeted using an immunotoxin approach. We demonstrate that incubation in primary anti-NG2 antibody in combination with secondary saporin-conjugated antibody selectively kills NG2-expressing cells in vitro. In addition, we provide evidence that the same protocol induces the loss of NG2-glia without affecting astrocyte or neuronal numbers in cerebellar brain slices from postnatal mice. This study shows that targeting the NG2 CSPG with immunotoxins is an effective and selective means for killing NG2-glia, which has important implications for studying the functions of these enigmatic cells both in the normal CNS, and in demyelination and degeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-227
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number2
Early online date20 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


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