Pyruvate Dehydrogenase-Dependent Metabolic Programming Affects the Oligodendrocyte Maturation and Remyelination

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Molecular neurobiology


The metabolic needs of the premature/premyelinating oligodendrocytes (pre-OLs) and mature oligodendrocytes (OLs) are distinct. The metabolic control of oligodendrocyte maturation from the pre-OLs to the OLs is not fully understood. Here, we show that the terminal maturation and higher mitochondrial respiration in the OLs is an integrated process controlled through pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (Pdh). Combined bioenergetics and metabolic studies show that OLs show elevated mitochondrial respiration than the pre-OLs. Our signaling studies show that the increased mitochondrial respiration activity in the OLs is mediated by the activation of Pdh due to inhibition of the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase-1 (Pdhk1) that phosphorylates and inhibits Pdh activity. Accordingly, when Pdhk1 is directly expressed in the pre-OLs, they fail to mature into the OLs. While Pdh converts pyruvate into the acetyl-CoA by its oxidative decarboxylation, our study shows that Pdh-dependent acetyl-CoA generation from pyruvate contributes to the acetylation of the bHLH family transcription factor, oligodendrocyte transcription factor 1 (Olig1) which is known to be involved in the OL maturation. Pdh inhibition via direct expression of Pdhk1 in the pre-OLs blocks the Olig1-acetylation and OL maturation. Using the cuprizone model of demyelination, we show that Pdh is deactivated during the demyelination phase, which is however reversed in the remyelination phase upon cuprizone withdrawal. In addition, Pdh activity status correlates with the Olig1-acetylation status in the cuprizone model. Hence, the Pdh metabolic node activation allows a robust mitochondrial respiration and activation of a molecular program necessary for the terminal maturation of oligodendrocytes. Our findings open a new dialogue in the developmental biology that links cellular development and metabolism. These findings have far-reaching implications in the development of therapies for a variety of demyelinating disorders including multiple sclerosis.

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print