Neuron-oligodendroglia interactions: Activity-dependent regulation of cellular signaling

Neurosci Lett. 2020 May 14:727:134916. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2020.134916. Epub 2020 Mar 16.


Oligodendrocyte lineage cells (oligodendroglia) and neurons engage in bidirectional communication throughout life to support healthy brain function. Recent work shows that changes in neuronal activity can modulate proliferation, differentiation, and myelination to support the formation and function of neural circuits. While oligodendroglia express a diverse collection of receptors for growth factors, signaling molecules, neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, our knowledge of the intracellular signaling pathways that are regulated by neuronal activity remains largely incomplete. Many of the pathways that modulate oligodendroglia behavior are driven by changes in intracellular calcium signaling, which may differentially affect cytoskeletal dynamics, gene expression, maturation, integration, and axonal support. Additionally, activity-dependent neuron-oligodendroglia communication plays an integral role in the recovery from demyelinating injuries. In this review, we summarize the modalities of communication between neurons and oligodendroglia and explore possible roles of activity-dependent calcium signaling in mediating cellular behavior and myelination.

Keywords: Myelin; Neuron; Neuron-Glia interactions; Oligodendrocyte; Oligodendrocyte precursor cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cell Lineage / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism*