Remyelination involves reinvesting demyelinated axons with new myelin sheaths. In stark contrast to the situation that follows loss of neurons or axonal damage, remyelination in the CNS can be a highly effective regenerative process. It is mediated by a population of precursor cells called oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), which are widely distributed throughout the adult CNS. However, despite its efficiency in experimental models and in some clinical diseases, remyelination is often inadequate in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common demyelinating disease and a cause of neurological disability in young adults. The failure of remyelination has profound consequences for the health of axons, the progressive and irreversible loss of which accounts for the progressive nature of these diseases. The mechanisms of remyelination therefore provide critical clues for regeneration biologists that help them to determine why remyelination fails in MS and in other demyelinating diseases and how it might be enhanced therapeutically.