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Curr Opin Neurol. 2008 Oct;21(5):607-14. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e32830f1e50.

Oligodendrocyte differentiation and implantation: new insights for remyelinating cell therapy.

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Department of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Recent research on oligodendrocyte development has yielded new insights on the involvement of morphogens and differentiation factors in oligodendrogenesis. This knowledge has improved strategies to control neural stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte differentiation and functional maturation in vitro. In this review, we highlight the current knowledge on oligodendrocyte differentiation and discuss the novel possibilities of neural stem cell-derived oligodendrocytes for graft-based remyelination therapy, for example, for multiple sclerosis.


Detailed insight into the cellular and molecular processes of embryonic and adult oligodendrogenesis has extended considerably in the past 2 years. Application of extrinsic factors and manipulation of intrinsic factors in neural stem cells have yielded convincing oligodendrocyte differentiation strategies. In addition, the recent groundbreaking developments regarding induced pluripotent stem cells generated from easily accessible somatic cells seem to offer an almost inexhaustible source for transplantable, autologous neural stem cells. Moreover, new approaches to optimize the implantation site for oligodendrocyte survival and functionality have improved the feasibility of stem cell-based oligodendrocyte replacement therapy.


Loss of myelin in demyelinating diseases is only partly restored by endogenous oligodendrocyte precursor cells. Application of optimally functional, neural stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte precursors at the lesion site has become a realistic therapeutic approach to promote the remyelination process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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