Oligodendrocyte dynamics dictate cognitive performance outcomes of working memory training in mice.
Shimizu T., Nayar SG., Swire M., Jiang Y., Grist M., Kaller M., Sampaio Baptista C., Bannerman DM., Johansen-Berg H., Ogasawara K., Tohyama K., Li H., Richardson WD.
Previous work has shown that motor skill learning stimulates and requires generation of myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs) from their precursor cells (OLPs) in the brains of adult mice. In the present study we ask whether OL production is also required for non-motor learning and cognition, using T-maze and radial-arm-maze tasks that tax spatial working memory. We find that maze training stimulates OLP proliferation and OL production in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), anterior corpus callosum (genu), dorsal thalamus and hippocampal formation of adult male mice; myelin sheath formation is also stimulated in the genu. Genetic blockade of OL differentiation and neo-myelination in Myrf conditional-knockout mice strongly impairs training-induced improvements in maze performance. We find a strong positive correlation between the performance of individual wild type mice and the scale of OLP proliferation and OL generation during training, but not with the number or intensity of c-Fos+ neurons in their mPFC, underscoring the important role played by OL lineage cells in cognitive processing.