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PLoS Biol. 2017 Aug 22;15(8):e2001993. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2001993. eCollection 2017 Aug.

Different patterns of neuronal activity trigger distinct responses of oligodendrocyte precursor cells in the corpus callosum.

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Group of Neuron Glia Interaction, Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
Graduate Training Centre of Neuroscience, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


In the developing and adult brain, oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are influenced by neuronal activity: they are involved in synaptic signaling with neurons, and their proliferation and differentiation into myelinating glia can be altered by transient changes in neuronal firing. An important question that has been unanswered is whether OPCs can discriminate different patterns of neuronal activity and respond to them in a distinct way. Here, we demonstrate in brain slices that the pattern of neuronal activity determines the functional changes triggered at synapses between axons and OPCs. Furthermore, we show that stimulation of the corpus callosum at different frequencies in vivo affects proliferation and differentiation of OPCs in a dissimilar way. Our findings suggest that neurons do not influence OPCs in "all-or-none" fashion but use their firing pattern to tune the response and behavior of these nonneuronal cells.

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