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Impaired adult myelination in the prefrontal cortex of socially isolated mice


Protracted social isolation of adult mice induced behavioral, transcriptional and ultrastructural changes in oligodendrocytes of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and impaired adult myelination. Social re-integration was sufficient to normalize behavioral and transcriptional changes. Short periods of isolation affected chromatin and myelin, but did not induce behavioral changes. Thus, myelinating oligodendrocytes in the adult PFC respond to social interaction with chromatin changes, suggesting that myelination acts as a form of adult plasticity.

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Figure 1: Prolonged social isolation of adult mice induces hypomyelination in PFC.
Figure 2: Prolonged social isolation of adult mice decreases myelin gene products and heterochromatin formation.
Figure 3: Short-term isolation is sufficient to induce chromatin changes and reduce myelin thickness in both adult and juvenile mice.


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We thank A. Sharp, P. Garg and J. Huynh for help with statistical analysis and multiple correction tests. This work was funded by the US National Institutes of Health (R37-NS42925-10 to P.C. and P50-MH96890 to E.J.N.), a Center core grant to the Virginia Commonwealth University Microscopy Facility (5P30NS047463) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (FG1874-A-1 to J.L.).

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Authors and Affiliations



J.L. and K.D. performed the experiments, contributed to data acquisition and analysis, and wrote the paper. X.P., D.K., M.K.L. and J.K. assisted with data acquisition. D.M.D. and V.V. provided behavioral analysis. J.M.D. and J.D. contributed to the ultrastructural analysis. J.D. and E.J.N. contributed to data interpretation and wrote the paper. P.C. ideated and directed the project, analyzed the data and wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Patrizia Casaccia.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Liu, J., Dietz, K., DeLoyht, J. et al. Impaired adult myelination in the prefrontal cortex of socially isolated mice. Nat Neurosci 15, 1621–1623 (2012).

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