Fasudil enhances the phagocytosis of myelin debris and the expression of neurotrophic factors in cuprizone-induced demyelinating mice

Zhi-Bin Ding, Qing-Xian Han, Qing Wang, Li-Juan Song, Guo-Guo Chu, Min-Fang Guo, Zhi Chai, Jie-Zhong Yu, Bao-Guo Xiao, Xin-Yi Li, Cun-Gen Ma
Neuroscience Letters 2021 April 7, 753: 135880
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is mainly associated with the neuroinflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system (CNS), in which the failure of remyelination results in persistent neurological dysfunction. Fasudil, a typical Rho kinase inhibitor, has been exhibited beneficial effects on several models of neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we showed that Fasudil promoted the uptake of myelin debris by microglia via cell experiments and through a cuprizone (CPZ)-induced demyelinating model. In vitro, microglia with phagocytic debris exhibited enhanced expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and the conditioned medium promoted the maturation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). Meanwhile, Fasudil upregulated TREM2/DAP12 pathway, which positively regulated the phagocytosis of myelin debris by microglia. Similarly, in vivo, Fasudil intervention enhanced the clearance of myelin debris, upregulated the expression of BDNF and GDNF on microglia, and promoted the formation of Oligo2+/PDGFRα+ OPCs and the maturation of MBP + oligodendrocytes in the brain. Our results showed that Fasudil targeted the phagocytic function of microglia, effectively clearing myelin debris produced during pathological process possibly by upregulating TREM2/DAP12 pathway, accompanied by increased expression of BDNF and GDNF. However, the precise mechanism underlying the effects of Fasudil in promoting phagocytic effects and neurotrophic factors remains to be elucidated.

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