Silencing or knocking out the Na +/Ca 2+ exchanger-3 (NCX3) impairs oligodendrocyte differentiation

F. Boscia, C. D'Avanzo, A. Pannaccione, A. Secondo, A. Casamassa, L. Formisano, N. Guida, L. Annunziato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Changes in intracellular Ca 2+ i levels have been shown to influence developmental processes that accompany the transition of human oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) into mature myelinating oligodendrocytes and are required for the initiation of the myelination and re-myelination processes. In the present study, we explored whether calcium signals mediated by the selective sodium calcium exchanger (NCX) family members NCX1, NCX2, and NCX3, play a role in oligodendrocyte maturation. Functional studies, as well as mRNA and protein expression analyses, revealed that NCX1 and NCX3, but not NCX2, were divergently modulated during OPC differentiation into oligodendrocyte phenotype. In fact, whereas NCX1 was downregulated, NCX3 was strongly upregulated during oligodendrocyte development. The importance of calcium signaling mediated by NCX3 during oligodendrocyte maturation was supported by several findings. Indeed, whereas knocking down the NCX3 isoform in OPCs prevented the upregulation of the myelin protein markers 2′,3′- cyclic nucleotide-3′-phosphodiesterase (CNPase) and myelin basic protein (MBP), its overexpression induced an upregulation of CNPase and MBP. Furthermore, NCX3-knockout mice showed not only a reduced size of spinal cord but also marked hypo-myelination, as revealed by decrease in MBP expression and by an accompanying increase in OPC number. Collectively, our findings indicate that calcium signaling mediated by NCX3 has a crucial role in oligodendrocyte maturation and myelin formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-572
Number of pages11
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • myelin
  • Na /Ca exchanger
  • NCX3
  • oligodendrocyte
  • oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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