The process of oligodendrocyte differentiation is regulated by a dynamic interaction between a genetic and an epigenetic program. Recent studies, addressing nucleosomal histone modifications have considerably increased our knowledge regarding epigenetic regulation of gene expression during oligodendrocyte development and aging. These results have generated new hypotheses regarding the mechanisms underlying the decreased efficiency of endogenous remyelination in response to demyelinating injuries with increasing age. In this review, we present an overview of the epigenetic mechanisms regulating gene expression at specific stages of oligodendrocyte differentiation and maturation as well as the changes that occur with aging.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.