Oligodendrocytes are the myelinating cells of the central nervous system that constitute about 5 to 10%
of the total glial population. These cells are responsible for myelin sheath production, which is essential not only
for the rapid and efficient conduction of the electrical impulses along the axons, but also for preserving axonal integrity.
Oligodendrocytes arise from oligodendrocyte progenitor cells that proliferate and differentiate just before
and after birth, under a highly-regulated program. Both oligodendrocytes and their precursors are very susceptible
to injury by several mechanisms, including excitotoxic damage, oxidative stress and inflammatory events. In this
review, we will cover not only several important aspects of oligodendrocyte development and regulatory mechanisms
involved in this process, but also some of the most important pathways of injury associated to oligodendrogenesis.
Moreover, we will also address some neurological disorders along life journey that present impairment in oligodendrocyte function
and in myelination during neurodevelopment, such as periventricular leukomalacia, hypoxia/ischemia and hyperbilirubinemia that in
turn can potentiate the emergence of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases like schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, hyperbilirubinemia, hypoxia/ischemia, multiple sclerosis, oligodendrocyte development and myelination
regulation, oligodendrocyte injury, periventricular leukomalacia, schizophrenia.
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