Influenza A virus infection disrupts oligodendrocyte homeostasis and alters the myelin lipidome in the adult mouse

Allison Y. Louie, Justin S. Kim, Jenny Drnevich, Payam Dibaeinia, Hisami Koito, Saurabh Sinha, Daniel B. McKim, Katiria Soto-Diaz, Romana A. Nowak, Aditi Das, Andrew J. Steelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent data suggest that myelin may be altered by physiological events occurring outside of the central nervous system, which may cause changes to cognition and behavior. Similarly, peripheral infection by non-neurotropic viruses is also known to evoke changes to cognition and behavior. Methods: Mice were inoculated with saline or influenza A virus. Bulk RNA-seq, lipidomics, RT-qPCR, flow cytometry, immunostaining, and western blots were used to determine the effect of infection on OL viability, protein expression and changes to the lipidome. To determine if microglia mediated infection-induced changes to OL homeostasis, mice were treated with GW2580, an inhibitor of microglia activation. Additionally, conditioned medium experiments using primary glial cell cultures were also used to test whether secreted factors from microglia could suppress OL gene expression. Results: Transcriptomic and RT-qPCR analyses revealed temporal downregulation of OL-specific transcripts with concurrent upregulation of markers characteristic of cellular stress. OLs isolated from infected mice had reduced cellular expression of myelin proteins compared with those from saline-inoculated controls. In contrast, the expression of these proteins within myelin was not different between groups. Similarly, histological and immunoblotting analysis performed on various brain regions indicated that infection did not alter OL viability, but increased expression of a cellular stress marker. Shot-gun lipidomic analysis revealed that infection altered the lipid profile within the prefrontal cortex as well as in purified brain myelin and that these changes persisted after recovery from infection. Treatment with GW2580 during infection suppressed the expression of genes associated with glial activation and partially restored OL-specific transcripts to baseline levels. Finally, conditioned medium from activated microglia reduced OL-gene expression in primary OLs without altering their viability. Conclusions: These findings show that peripheral respiratory viral infection with IAV is capable of altering OL homeostasis and indicate that microglia activation is likely involved in the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number190
JournalJournal of neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Inflammation
  • Influenza virus
  • Lipid
  • Lipidome
  • Microglia
  • Myelin
  • Myelin plasticity
  • Oligodendrocyte
  • Systemic inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology


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