Title: Myelin dynamics and homeostasis in developing and adult brains

Speaker:Prof. Lin Mei

Time:June 27, 2023, 1:00-2:20 pm

Venue:Youcai Deng Lecture Hall

Host:Prof. Yulong Li

Student Host:Bin Luo


Oligodendrocytes (OLs) are the myelin-forming glial cell in the central nervous system (CNS) that generate multiple myelin sheaths to wrap axons. Myelination is initiated in the CNS at the late stage of pregnancy in humans and peaks in adolescence. Myelin insulates axons to ensure fast and efficient transmission of action potentials and OLs support axons and neurons with nourishment. Noticeably, OLs and myelin are undergoing dynamic changes in developing brains, meanwhile remaining comparably homeostatic in adulthood. Namely, newly formed OLs are continuously added throughout life from the differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) and the pre-existing myelin sheaths may undergo degeneration or remodeling. The myelin dynamics and homeostasis have been shown significantly changed and are widely involved in various brain dysfunctions. For instance, speedy degeneration of OLs and myelin is present at the early stage of neurodegenerative diseases, and even prior to significant neuronal loss and functional deficits. More importantly, oligodendroglia-specific manipulation, by either deletion of the disease gene or enhancing myelin renewal, can alleviate the functional impairments in the neurodegenerative animal models. Postnatal myelination is required for synaptogenesis and synaptic function in developing brains. These findings underscore the importance of OLs and myelin in shaping neuronal functions. In this talk, I would like to summarize our recent findings regarding the characteristic changes of myelin dynamics and homeostasis in developing and adult brains and discuss the possibility to treat brain diseases by targeting oligodendroglial cells.