Glutamate signalling: A multifaceted modulator of oligodendrocyte lineage cells in health and disease.

Sonia SpitzerRagnhildur Káradóttir


Myelin is essential for the mammalian brain to function efficiently. Whilst many factors have been associated with regulating the differentiation of oligodendroglia and myelination, glutamate signalling might be particularly important for learning-dependent myelination. The majority of myelinated projection neurons are glutamatergic. Oligodendrocyte precursor cells receive glutamatergic synaptic inputs from unmyelinated axons and oligodendrocyte lineage cells express glutamate receptors which enable them to monitor and respond to changes in neuronal activity. Yet, what role glutamate plays for oligodendroglia is not fully understood. Here, we review glutamate signalling and its effects on oligodendrocyte lineage cells, and myelination in health and disease. Furthermore, we discuss whether glutamate signalling between neurons and oligodendroglia might lay the foundation to activity-dependent white matter plasticity. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Oligodendrocytes in Health and Disease'.


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