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Dis Model Mech. 2010 Nov-Dec;3(11-12):678-88. doi: 10.1242/dmm.002915.

Towards improved animal models of neonatal white matter injury associated with cerebral palsy.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Eli and Edythe Broad Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regeneration Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Newborn neurological injuries are the leading cause of intellectual and motor disabilities that are associated with cerebral palsy. Cerebral white matter injury is a common feature in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which affects full-term infants, and in periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), which affects preterm infants. This article discusses recent efforts to model neonatal white matter injury using mammalian systems. We emphasize that a comprehensive understanding of oligodendrocyte development and physiology is crucial for obtaining new insights into the pathobiology of HIE and PVL as well as for the generation of more sophisticated and faithful animal models.

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