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Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(6):656-79.

Oligodendrocyte Development and Myelination in Neurodevelopment: Molecular Mechanisms in Health and Disease.

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Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Professor Gama Pinto, 1649-003 Lisbon, Portugal.


Oligodendrocytes are the myelinating cells of the central nervous system that constitute about 5 to 10% of the total glial population. These cells are responsible for myelin sheath production, which is essential not only for the rapid and efficient conduction of the electrical impulses along the axons, but also for preserving axonal integrity. Oligodendrocytes arise from oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that proliferate and differentiate just before and after birth, under a highly-regulated program. Both oligodendrocytes and their precursors are very susceptible to injury by several mechanisms, including excitotoxic damage, oxidative stress and inflammatory events. In this review, we will cover not only several important aspects of oligodendrocyte development and regulatory mechanisms involved in this process, but also some of the most important pathways of injury associated to oligodendrogenesis. Moreover, we will also address some neurological disorders along life journey that present impairment in oligodendrocyte function and in myelination during neurodevelopment, such as periventricular leukomalacia, hypoxia/ischemia and hyperbilirubinemia that in turn can potentiate the emergence of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases like schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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