Triiodothyronine is a survival factor for developing oligodendrocytes

Sidney A. Jones, Dawn M. Jolson, Kristin K. Cuta, Cary N. Mariash, Grant W. Anderson

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71 Scopus citations


Thyroid hormone plays an important role in oligodendrocyte development. The studies presented here suggest that thyroid hormone is required for oligodendrocyte survival during development. Oligodendrocyte precursor cells, astrocytes and microglia were cultured in a defined media. Oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation was induced by growth factor removal. Time course studies revealed that oligodendrocytes cultured in the presence or absence of triiodothyronine (T3) develop similarly during the first 3 days of development. Oligodendrocytes cultured in the absence of T3, however, die after developmental day 3. TdT-Mediated dUDP Nick End Labeling assay and Hoechst staining indicate that T3 rescues developing oligodendrocytes from death by apoptosis. Apoptosis is likely induced by the presence of the cytokines TNFα and IL-1β. However, expression of these cytokines is not altered by thyroid hormone administration. Thus, thyroid hormone has been demonstrated to effect proliferation, myelin gene expression and now the survival of developing oligodendrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 31 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge Harold L. Schwartz and Jack H. Oppenheimer for helpful discussions. This work was supported by grants from the American Thyroid Association, the Thyroid Research Advisory Council and Knoll Pharmeceuticals, and NIH RO1-DK54060.


  • Development
  • Oligodendrocyte
  • Rat brain
  • Thyroid hormone


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