Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) can repair demyelinated lesions by maturing into myelin-producing oligodendrocytes. However, the OPC potential to differentiate can be prevented by inhibitory signals present in the pathological lesion environment. Identification of these signals is essential to promote OPC differentiation and lesion repair. We identified an endogenous inhibitor of remyelination, Endothelin-1 (ET-1), which is highly expressed in reactive astrocytes of demyelinated lesions. Using both gain- and loss-of-function approaches, we demonstrate that ET-1 drastically reduces the rate of remyelination. We also discovered that ET-1 acts mechanistically by promoting Notch activation in OPCs during remyelination through induction of Jagged1 expression in reactive astrocytes. Pharmacological inhibition of ET signaling prevented Notch activation in demyelinated lesions and accelerated remyelination. These findings reveal that ET-1 is anegative regulator of OPC differentiation and remyelination and is potentially a therapeutic target to promote lesion repair in demyelinated tissue. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
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