Progressive axonal loss from chronic demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS) is the key contributor to clinical decline. Failure to regenerate myelin by adult oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), a widely distributed neural stem cell population in the adult brain, is one of the major causes of axonal degeneration. In order to develop successful therapies to protect the integrity of axons in MS, it is important to identify and understand the key molecular pathways involved in myelin regeneration (remyelination) by adult OPCs. This review highlights recent findings on the critical signaling pathways associated with OPC differentiation following CNS demyelination. We discuss the role of LINGO-1, Notch, Wnt, and retinoid X receptor (RXR) signaling, and how they might be useful pharmacological targets to overcoming remyelination failure in MS.
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