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In utero alcohol exposure impairs vessel-associated positioning and differentiation of oligodendrocytes in the developing neocortex

Abstract : Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) is a major cause of nongenetic mental retardation and can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), the most severe manifestation of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD infants present behavioral disabilities resulting from neurodevelopmental defects. Both grey and white matter lesions have been characterized and are associated with apoptotic death and/or ectopic migration profiles. In the last decade, it was shown that PAE impairs brain angiogenesis, and the radial organization of cortical microvessels is lost. Concurrently, several studies have reported that tangential migration of oligodendrocyte precursors (OPCs) originating from ganglionic eminences is vascular associated. Because numerous migrating oligodendrocytes enter the developing neocortex, the present study aimed to determine whether migrating OPCs interacted with radial cortical microvessels and whether alcohol-induced vascular impairments were associated with altered positioning and differentiation of cortical oligodendrocytes. Using a 3D morphometric analysis, the results revealed that in both human and mouse cortices, 15 to 40% of Olig2-positive cells were in close association with radial cortical microvessels, respectively. Despite perinatal vascular disorganization, PAE did not modify the vessel association of Olig2-positive cells but impaired their positioning between deep and superficial cortical layers. At the molecular level, PAE markedly but transiently reduced the expression of CNPase and MBP, two differentiation markers of immature and mature oligodendrocytes. In particular, PAE inverted their distribution profiles in cortical layers V and VI and reduced the thickness of the myelin sheath of efferent axons. These perinatal oligo-vascular defects were associated with motor disabilities that persisted in adults. Altogether, the present study provides the first evidence that Olig2-positive cells entering the neocortex are associated with radial microvessels. PAE disorganized the cortical microvasculature and delayed the positioning and differentiation of oligodendrocytes. Although most of these oligovascular defects occurred in perinatal life, the offspring developed long-term motor troubles. Altogether, these data suggest that alcohol-induced oligo-vascular impairments contribute to the neurodevelopmental issues described in FASD.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 22, 2022 - 11:43:18 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 3:49:57 PM

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M. Brosolo, M. Lecointre, A. Laquerrière, F. Janin, D. Genty, et al.. In utero alcohol exposure impairs vessel-associated positioning and differentiation of oligodendrocytes in the developing neocortex. Neurobiology of Disease, Elsevier, 2022, 171, pp.105791. ⟨10.1016/j.nbd.2022.105791⟩. ⟨hal-03756217⟩

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