Oligodendrocytes are one of the major cell types in cerebral white matter. Under normal conditions, they form myelin sheaths that encircle axons to support fast nerve conduction. Under conditions of cerebral ischemia, oligodendrocytes tend to die, resulting in white-matter dysfunction. Repair of white matter involves the ability of oligodendrocyte precursors to proliferate and mature. However, replacement of lost oligodendrocytes may not be the only mechanism for white-matter recovery. Emerging data now suggest that coordinated signaling between neural, glial, and vascular cells in the entire neurovascular unit may be required. In this mini-review, we discuss how oligodendrocyte lineage cells participate in signaling and crosstalk with other cell types to underlie function and recovery in various experimental models of subcortical white-matter injury.