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Myelin repair in vivo is increased by targeting oligodendrocyte precursor cells with nanoparticles encapsulating leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF)

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Original languageEnglish
Early online date15 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Many nerve axons are insulated by a myelin sheath and their demyelination not only prevents saltatory electrical signal conduction along the axons but also removes their metabolic support leading to irreversible neurodegeneration, which currently is untreatable. There is much interest in potential therapeutics that promote remyelination and here we explore use of leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF), a cytokine known to play a key regulatory role in self-tolerant immunity and recently identified as a pro-myelination factor. In this study, we tested a nanoparticle-based strategy for targeted delivery of LIF to oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) to promote their differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes able to repair myelin. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)-based nanoparticles of ∼120 nm diameter were constructed with LIF as cargo (LIF-NP) with surface antibodies against NG-2 chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, expressed on OPC. In vitro, NG2-targeted LIF-NP bound to OPCs, activated pSTAT-3 signalling and induced OPC differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes. In vivo, using a model of focal CNS demyelination, we show that NG2-targeted LIF-NP increased myelin repair, both at the level of increased number of myelinated axons, and increased thickness of myelin per axon. Potency was high: a single NP dose delivering picomolar quantities of LIF is sufficient to increase remyelination.

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