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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2018 Jul 8;41:61-76. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-080317-061853.

Myelin Plasticity and Nervous System Function.

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Department of Neurology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA; email:


Structural plasticity in the myelinated infrastructure of the nervous system has come to light. Although an innate program of myelin development proceeds independent of nervous system activity, a second mode of myelination exists in which activity-dependent, plastic changes in myelin-forming cells influence myelin structure and neurological function. These complementary and possibly temporally overlapping activity-independent and activity-dependent modes of myelination crystallize in a model of experience-modulated myelin development and plasticity with broad implications for neurological function. In this article, I consider the contributions of myelin to neural circuit function, the dynamic influences of experience on myelin microstructure, and the role that plasticity of myelin may play in cognition.


adaptive myelination; glia; myelin plasticity; neuron-glia interactions; neuroplasticity

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