Autotaxin is a secreted cell motility-stimulating exo-phosphodiesterase with lysophospholipase D activity that generates bioactive lysophosphatidic acid. Lysophosphatidic acid has been implicated in various neural cell functions such as neurite remodeling, demyelination, survival and inhibition of axon growth. Here, we report on the in vivo expression of autotaxin in the brain during development and following neurotrauma. We found that autotaxin is expressed in the proliferating subventricular and choroid plexus epithelium during embryonic development. After birth, autotaxin is mainly found in white matter areas in the central nervous system. In the adult brain, autotaxin is solely expressed in leptomeningeal cells and oligodendrocyte precursor cells. Following neurotrauma, autotaxin is strongly up-regulated in reactive astrocytes adjacent to the lesion. The present study revealed the cellular distribution of autotaxin in the developing and lesioned brain and implies a function of autotaxin in oligodendrocyte precursor cells and brain injuries.
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