Volume 6 (2017) Issue 1 Pages 50-54
The G protein-coupled receptor 17 (GPR17), a Gi-coupled GPCR, acts as an intrinsic timer of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination. The expression of GPR17 is upregulated during differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) into premyelinating oligodendrocytes (preoligodendrocytes), whereas it is markedly downregulated during terminal maturation of myelinating oligodendrocytes. Nasu-Hakola disease (NHD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by a loss-of-function mutation of either TYROBP (DAP12) or TREM2. Pathologically, the brains of NHD patients exhibit extensive demyelination designated leukoencephalopathy, astrogliosis, accumulation of axonal spheroids, and activation of microglia predominantly in the white matter of frontal and temporal lobes. Although GPR17 is a key regulator of oligodendrogenesis, a pathological role of GPR17 in NHD brains with relevance to development of leukoencephalopathy remains unknown. We studied the expression of GPR17 in five NHD brains and eight control brains by immunohistochemistry. We identified GPR17-immunoreactive preoligodendrocytes with a multipolar ramified morphology distributed in the white matter and the grey matter of all cases examined. However, we did not find statistically significant differences in the number of GPR17-expressing cells between NHD and control brains both in the white matter and the grey matter due to great variability from case to case. These observations do not support the view that GPR17-positive preoligodendrocytes play a central role in the development of leukoencephalopathy in NHD brains.