Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a growth and survival factor for oligodendrocyte lineage cells and promotes myelination. We demonstrate that IGF-binding protein 6 (IGFBP-6) is expressed and localized to the Golgi complex in rat oligodendrocyte precursor (O2A) cells. IGFBP-6 mRNA showed a developmentally regulated expression pattern, displaying a transient decrease during early development, and enhanced levels upon cell maturation. IGFBP-6 mRNA expression could be reduced by addition of basic fibroblast growth factor and progesterone while estrogen increased IGFBP-6 mRNA. IGF-1, platelet-derived growth factor, and insulin had no effect. When added exogenously, IGFBP-6 reduced O2A cell survival in the absence of IGF-1 and inhibited IGF-1-stimulated survival in a partially IGF-1-dependent and partially IGF-1-independent fashion. In addition, IGFBP-6 reduced the IGF-stimulated expression of two myelin proteins, CNPase and MAG. Taken together, the data show that IGFBP-6 is a new negative effector of oligodendrocyte survival and differentiation. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.